Plato regards the doctor as symbol of highly specialized of knowledge

Plato regards the doctor as a symbol of a highly specialized and refined field of knowledge. Greek Plato’s praise for doctors and medicine is so profound that even if all the early medical writings of Greece were lost, we would still have sufficient evidence to conclude that, in the late fifth and fourth centuries BC, the Greek medical profession enjoyed significant social and intellectual prestige.

Additionally, he sees the doctor as an example of a professional code that exemplifies the correct connection between knowledge and its practical application. Plato frequently references this code to illustrate how theoretical knowledge can contribute to the improvement of human existence. Socrates’ philosophy of ethical knowledge, which forms the basis for many arguments in Plato’s dialogues, heavily relies on the model of medical science that he frequently mentions.

It is accurate to state that without this model, Socrates’ doctrine would be inconceivable. Among all the present areas of human knowledge, medicine bears the closest resemblance to Socrates’ ethical science. Nevertheless, it is essential to analyze Greek medicine not only as a precursor to the intellectual progress that gave rise to the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, but also because it evolved from a mere trade into a prominent cultural influence in the lives of the Greek population.

Since then, although encountering some resistance, medicine has progressively integrated into mainstream culture and acquired significant status in contemporary society. The modern medical science, which sprang from the rediscovery of Greco-Roman medical literature during the humanistic era, has become excessively specialized and no longer occupies the same position as its predecessor.

The full integration of medical knowledge into later Greco-Roman culture is most evident from the Greek perspective in Galen, and from the Roman perspective, in the ‘encyclopaedias’ of Cato, Varro, and Celsus, none of whom possessed a medical degree. However, this was just the recognition of the significant impact and reputation it had achieved during and after the latter part of the fifth century.

There were other factors that contributed to its establishment in that position. During that age, the representation of the first was characterized by individuals with exceptionally comprehensive perspectives, elevating it to a profound intellectual standard that endured for decades. The second consequence was that via its confrontation with philosophy, it was enriched: it gained a profound comprehension of its own objectives and methodologies, and developed the definitive manifestation of its own view of knowing.

Equally significant was the ultimate observation that Greek culture had consistently encompassed both physical and spiritual aspects. The fact was manifested in the dual system that constituted early Greek education: gymnastics and ‘music’. An indication of the modern period is the inclusion of doctors in discussions about physical training, similar to how philosophers are addressed alongside musicians and poets in the realm of intelligence.

The doctor’s exceptional status in ancient Greece mostly stems from his association with paideia. We have been examining the evolution of gymnastic education, starting with Homer and the poetic representation of its principles, and progressing to Plato, where these ideals are integrated into the broader framework of human existence.

In contrast to gymnastics, medicine quickly developed its own body of literature, which provides insight into its actual essence and serves as the primary factor for its global impact. From the passage, we gather that while Homer acknowledges the doctor’s exceptional ability as being on par with many other individuals, the development of medical science itself was truly brought about by the era of rational thinking.

Upon its initial emergence in the annals of Greek civilization, it exhibits a tendency to extract more resources or benefits than it bestows. The most evident indication of its subordinate position is as follows: all the fully preserved medical literature from the fifth and fourth centuries is written in Ionic language. Part of it likely originated in Ionia; nevertheless, this does not fully elucidate the entire scenario. Hippocrates resided and instructed on the island of Cos, where the local population spoke the Doric dialect.