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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index O > Sir William Osler Quotes > Medicine

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Sir William Osler
(12 Jul 1849 - 29 Dec 1919)

Canadian physician, medical educator and author whose clinical teaching, research and personality strongly influenced medical practice, including encouraging a warmer bedside manner between doctors and their patients. He wrote Principles and Practice of Medicine (1892), one of the most successful textbooks in medical history.


Sir William Osler Quotes on Medicine (6 quotes)

>> Click for 34 Science Quotes by Sir William Osler

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A desire to take medicine is, perhaps, the great feature which distinguishes man from other animals.
— Sir William Osler
'Recent Advances in Medicine', Science (1891), 17, 170.
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A reference to the two sorts of doctors is also found in the Republic: “Now you know that when patients do not require medicine, but have only to be put under a regimen, the inferior sort of practitioner is deemed to be good enough; but when medicine has to be given, then the doctor should be more of a man.”
— Sir William Osler
Osler is referring to Plato’s Dialogues, iii, 153. In Address (1893) to the Johns Hopkins Hospital Historical Club, 'Physic and Physicians as Depicted in Plato', collected in Aequanimitas: With Other Addresses to Medical Students, Nurses and Practitioners of Medicine (1904), 70.
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Even in populous districts, the practice of medicine is a lonely road which winds up-hill all the way and a man may easily go astray and never reach the Delectable Mountains unless he early finds those shepherd guides of whom Bunyan tells, Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere.
— Sir William Osler
In Aequanimitas (1904), 299.
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Like other departments of philosophy, medicine began with an age of wonder. The accidents of disease and the features of death aroused surprise and stimulated interest, and a beginning was made when man first asked in astonishment, Why should these things be?
— Sir William Osler
In 'The Evolution of Internal Medicine', Modern Medicine: Its Theory and Practice, (1907), Vol. 1, xvi.
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Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.
— Sir William Osler
William Bennett Bean (ed.), Sir William Osler: Aphorisms from his Bedside Teachings and Writings, No. 265 (1950), 125.
Science quotes on:  |  Aphorism (21)  |  Art (657)  |  Medicine (378)  |  Probability (132)  |  Science (3880)  |  Uncertainty (56)

Now of the difficulties bound up with the public in which we doctors work, I hesitate to speak in a mixed audience. Common sense in matters medical is rare, and is usually in inverse ratio to the degree of education.
— Sir William Osler
'Teaching and Thinking' (1894). In Aequanimitas with Other Addresses to Medical Students, Nurses and Practitioners of Medicine (1904), 131.
Science quotes on:  |  Audience (26)  |  Binding (9)  |  Bound (119)  |  Common (436)  |  Common Sense (130)  |  Degree (275)  |  Difficulty (198)  |  Doctor (187)  |  Education (379)  |  Hesitate (22)  |  Hesitation (19)  |  Inverse (7)  |  Matter (801)  |  Medicine (378)  |  Mixed (6)  |  Public (96)  |  Rare (89)  |  Ratio (39)  |  Sense (770)  |  Speak (232)  |  Speaking (119)  |  Usually (176)  |  Work (1351)

William Osler quote Two sorts of doctors
Candidate for medical degree being examined in the subject of “Bedside Manner” — Punch (22 Apr 1914) (source)

See also:
  • 12 Jul - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Osler's birth.
  • Sir William Osler - Excerpt from 'Books And Men' address (12 Jan 1901)
  • William Osler - context of quote “Two sorts of doctors” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • William Osler - context of quote “Two sorts of doctors” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • William Osler: A Life in Medicine, by Michael Bliss. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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