The Origin of Medical Terms suggests the word medicine is originally from the Latin medicina, implying the art of healing. The verb medeor may have more complex Indo-European roots, meaning “to think” or “to reflect” (Charyn 1951). In modern usage, medicine implies something more practical—both the pharmaceutical drugs used to treat disease and the profession of medicine itself. Indeed, this transition from a reflective meaning to an active one might be at the root of mainstream Western medicine’s often fraught relationship with the health humanities, a field that asks those whose professional identities are built on agentic “doing” to reflect, analyze, and consider in unfamiliar and often discomfiting ways (Boler 1999).

This essay may be found on page 129 of the printed volume.

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