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December 9, 1950

THE USE OF EXPERIENCE

JAMA. 1950;144(15):1264-1265. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02920150038015
Abstract

In an address to the Hunterian Society, Sir Heneage Ogilvie,1 distinguished British surgeon and editor of The Practitioner, emphasizes the importance of experience, as a prerequisite for judgment, in the field of medicine. Experience, as Sir Heneage points out, consists of impressions received by the five senses, but many fail to gain wisdom from these impressions, for "experience can be made useful only by certain qualities of the mind, some given by inheritance, some by parental example, some by the influence of teachers or writers."

Sir Heneage Ogilvie considers that inability to profit by experience may be attributed to three factors. First, through a failure to acquire the habit of thought, a person may be unable to classify his experiences and thus to step from "experience to experiment." Second, through overclassification, he may fail to grasp the significance of a new experience in his effort to place it under

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