When movie queens and consumer advocates are acclaimed as experts in health hazards of nuclear energy, it is not surprising that ethical philosophers, behavioral psychologists, sociologists, ecologists, and environmentalists view medicine as a province within the realms of their expertise. They see it through the lenses of their special concern. Nor is it surprising that, often forgetting to grind their lenses, they grind their axes instead.
Surprisingly, physicians rarely reciprocate. Rarely do they attempt to view any of the arts and the sciences through the lens of medicine and when they do, their ancillary tool is not an axe but a sharp dissecting scalpel.
Such a fine scalpel, along with its well-ground guiding lens, are in evidence in the recently published Boswell's Clap and Other Essays by the pathologist Dr William B. Ober.1 Without expounding a thesis or committing himself to rigid theories, the author traces the influence of