Once again, the prominent philosopher of the twentieth century, Gadamer, opens a vast field of questioning and reflection. This time, Gadamer discusses in this collection of essays the manner by which medicine is an art, the restrictions of technologies in the field of medicine, and how health functions or should function.
For Gadamer medicine is not a science supposed to produce health. Rather, the role of medicine is to restore one's body to a state of healthiness. When we are healthy we do not know that we actually are. We rather indirctly feel it when we are in a state of well being, but when we fall sick this state of well being vanishes and we find ourselves unable to cope with the new sick state, so we seek the help of a doctor. The encounter with the doctor though should not be the encounter of a subjective-actor to an object (the patient). Considering patients as cases to fix is an invalid way of dealing with the human-patient, but it is a method produced by a scientific method. Therefore, Doctors must learn to instil a dialogue with their patient the way personal doctors used to do. Even though it is helpful to learn the theoretical general knowledge concerning the 'rules' of health, doctors still need to apply the theoretical knowledge according to the needs of patients and not according to general rules. Each patient has their own needs, so they have to receive a treatment which helps them and not oppress them to the scientific norms.
Health is not something doctors produce. Rather, health is a state doctors aim to restore. Nature, and not doctors, plays an important role in the restoration of the body to a state of well being. Doctors then assists nature in running its course smoothly once again by detecting the sickness patients suffer from and trying to get rid of that inconvenience so that the patience goes back to a "happy" life and to their social context in order to fullfill their role within their community.
Technologies used in the field of medicine are helpful but not that powerful. For instance, Instruments used by the doctor to help him detect the sickness do not detain absolute truth, but possibilities likely to be valid to an extent. For Gadamer, the problem that the modern time encounters is the dangerous dependence that individuals have on technolgies to tell them how they feel and what they have to do. Individuals are not mathematical constructs; they enclose more elements than flesh and bones. The decisive elements that defines humans are their capacity to reflect and to open themselves to myriads of possibilities, and their souls which function in a mysterious and complex but present way. Therefore, it's important to investigate these elements along with the obvious ones in order to be able to restore one's capacity to think, function, and experience well being.
This translation is not a bad one. The translator uses short and clear sentences to convey Gadamer's meaning. Even though the translation surely lacks some of the originality of the German text, but it's also very pleasant to read.