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October 1963

III. Diagnosis in the Future, Including a Critique on the Use of Electronic Computers as Diagnostic Aids to the Physician

Author Affiliations


Associate Professor of Medicine; Department of Medicine, the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(4):530-543. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860040126011

We have reviewed the various meanings of diagnosis and have shown how the term encompasses everything from the art and science of medicine to the concept of the specific disease. We have demonstrated how difficult it is to define many of our terms and indeed, even with our agreed definitions, to be as certain of some terms as of others. We have traced the changing concepts of disease through the ages and noted that there is no unified concept or classification of diseases. The philosophical importance of the theory of universals as it applies to medicine has been discussed. When one reviews these problems, it must seem remarkable that medical science is as advanced as it is. However, as our experience tells us, recurrences do occur in nature, and there is some evidence that nature even suggests the ways in which to make generalizations.1 In medicine, is there hope