Patrick Romanell, William Osler, and philosophy in medicine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1974, Patrick Romanell (1912–2002) published a paper in the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine taking William Osler (1849–1919) to task for dismissing philosophy as a distinguishing feature of the nature of medicine. Osler had expressed this thought in the Silliman Lectures given at Yale in 1913 on the Evolution of Modern Medicine. That the nature of medicine is underpinned by an understanding of the nature of man requires that the pedagogy and practice of medicine incorporate not only the empirical science that is the basis for clinical practice, but also the logical and metaphysical concepts of the nature of man. These concepts are informed by the humanities that include history, literature, and the arts. Despite Romanell’s critique of Osler’s statement, Romanell ultimately corroborates other statements made by Osler in the lecture series, substantiating Osler’s deep appreciation for the nature of man and a philosophy of medicine that deserves emulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-120
Number of pages4
JournalBaylor University Medical Center Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2022


  • Patrick Romanell
  • William Osler
  • philosophy in medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Patrick Romanell, William Osler, and philosophy in medicine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this