Posts Tagged ‘empathy’

Empathy and the Mind-Body Problem (2)

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Empathic skill is unusual in the world of medical clinicians trained in physiologic diagnosis.  Part of the reason for this is that admission to school depends heavily on achievement in chemistry and biology where empathy is of little importance.  Professional training continues the emphasis on science that can readily be quantified.   Also consistent with the objectivity of numerically oriented science is the tradition of maintaining a demeanor of detached concern toward patients.  As my friend Jodi Halpern, MD has written: “The ideal of detached concern is justified by the argument that only an unemotional physician is free to discern and meet patients’ emotional needs without imposing his own.” (1, p 25)


Empathy and the Mind-Body Problem (1)

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The N-body problem is one of the most famous in classical physics, first posed by Isaac Newton in his most important book Principia Mathematica (1687).  The problem is to describe the motion of bodies in space once their velocities, masses and initial positions are known.  Two hundred years later a work describing the relatively simple case of three bodies (sun, earth and moon) ran to 1800 pages.  The N-body problem refers to any number of objects and gets even more complex if velocities approach the speed of light.  Approximate solutions were developed in the 20th Century.