On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.102 n.3 Cape Town Mar. 2012
Handling truth: navigating the riptides of rhetoric, religion, reason, and research.
By William Melvin Gardner. Pp. 192. $12.95 (paperback), $9.95 (ebook for Kindle and Nook). Logica Books. 2012. ISBN 978-0-9761875-1-6 and 978-0-9761875-2-3, respectively. Information and contact available at: handlingtruth.com
Do not tell a patient that they have cancer - they cannot handle this and behave inappropriately. This was the gist of the teaching of my mentor, Professor Jannie Louw, when I was a medical student. This book does not deal with such, now outdated, patient-related specifics, but with the four main domains of truth. These concepts are most helpful when we, as medical scientists, find ourselves perplexed by people (and our patients) latching onto other beliefs rather than taking our advice. Gardner's descriptions of the domains of truth: rhetorica, mystica, logica and empirca, are an easy read and help us to make sense of why and how people differ in their views of the world.
J P de V van Niekerk