"Doctor" - MDs vs PhDs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Pavonis, May 8, 2013.

  1. 1001001

    1001001 I Like the Beats and the Shouting Moderator

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    I have a doctorate in Psychology. I do not ask people to call me "Doctor". My first name is fine. I get "Doc" sometimes, or "Doctor B" as a nickname, and that's fine too.

    My employer wants me to identify myself in correspondence, voicemail greetings, etc. as "Doctor", but that is for their own prestige (what little there is to have) not mine.

    I think "Doctor" rightly applies to all who have finished the highest level coursework in their field. Doctors of Medicine are "physicians", etc. But I do think introducing yourself outside of your work environment as "Doctor" is a little pretentious.

    JMHO
     
  2. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    But is it pretentious because we want to avoid all titles to promote egalitarian ideals, or because there is something specific about the title of Doctor that its use by non-physicians comes off as pretentious?

    "Hello, I'm Dr. Throckmorton Throttlebottom, nice to meet you". It is simple statement of fact, so where did the pretense enter?
     
  3. 1001001

    1001001 I Like the Beats and the Shouting Moderator

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    I guess I'd say, outside of my professional realm, why is relevant? Does the lady at the bank or my next door neighbor need to know that I've earned a doctorate?

    I don't have really strong feelings about it, and I suppose everyone has a right to identify how they prefer to be addressed. So it's not a big issue for me, but I don't do it because I think it's unnecessary in my personal life.

    Again, JMHO
     
  4. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Well, it's not relevant at all. As I wrote previously, I don't bother introducing myself as Dr. P.; only other people use my title when introducing me (and I never asked them to do it, either). And yet, physicians get away with it, i.e., they're real doctors, even the ones that just install breast implants and do tummy tucks.

    It's hard to reconcile the respect physicians get when they reveal their title as Doctor So-and-So with the "pretentiousness" that is perceived when a PhD does the same. And yet, for all the supposed respect physicians receive, they have to shell out a lot in malpractice insurance and put up with a lot of second guessing by laymen.

    Physicians and professors tend to be respected professions, but while both carry the same title, one is "allowed" to use it, and one is frowned upon when using it. It's an odd dichotomy. Does it perhaps stem from a disrespect for intellectualism, or is it merely that everyone tends to see physician "doctors" regularly, whereas professor "doctors" aren't encountered much once outside of college?
     
  5. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I think it's more that we just don't call them "physicians." We call medical doctors "Doctor" because that's their job. When we get sick, we don't say "Go to the physician." We say "go to the doctor." It has nothing to do with their education or degree; it's what they do for a living. In this case, the word "doctor" has a double meaning, and I think you're concerned with the wrong one.
     
  6. Chaos Descending

    Chaos Descending Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "Doctor" comes from the Latin word "to teach" and therefore means "teacher".

    The academic use of the word "Doctor" is much more "correct", historically, than the medical use.
     
  7. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I'm not talking about history. I'm talking about how words are actually used today. We don't address people by their college degrees.
     
  8. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Your point is a good one, but raises the question - when did physicians become doctors? How did they manage to co-opt the title so thoroughly that only physicians are "real" doctors?

    There's no reason that we can't say "go to the physician", since it's just as clear and concise as saying "go to the doctor", but we just don't. Just one of those quirks of language and culture, I guess.
     
  9. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually, if I met a physician in a social setting where other people were using just their names -- no Ms. or Mr. -- I would think it pretentious of him or her to use Dr.
     
  10. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    But, if it is a statement of fact, why is it considered pretentious?
     
  11. 1001001

    1001001 I Like the Beats and the Shouting Moderator

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    Same reason as before.

    It's not relevant to a social situation.
     
  12. Gryffindorian

    Gryffindorian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see any problem referring to either MDs or Ph.D.s as "Doctor," especially in a work setting. If you're a college professor, everyone around you should know that you're exactly that--someone with a doctorate. But being addressed "Dr. Smith" is always optional. We live in informal times nowadays that you can call your boss by his/her first name. In a social setting, one should probably drop the "Doctor" (Ph.D.) title so as not to be mistaken for a physician.

    And then there are other forms of doctors. My dentist is a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). My therapist has a Doctor of Psychology degree (Psy. D.). I'm working on my Doctor of Divinity; I just need to send in my $50.

    http://universalministries.com/catalog/lifexp_cat.html

    :lol:
     
  13. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Yep. Language changes. Rarely do we know why.

    I think addressing people by title is just generally odd. My title is "manager," but I certainly expect people to address me as such. I've always thought it was strange that a person with a doctorate suddenly has the title "Doctor" as if it's now a part of their legal name.

    I always get tripped up on legal forms that ask me for my prefix (Mr, Mrs, Ms, etc). I usually want to say "none of the above." I have a name; "Mister" is not a part of it.

    In a professional setting, especially for a college professor, it really just depends on how much you want to distance yourself from your students. If you'd rather have a more formal relationship, I'd say you have your pick of either "Doctor" or "Professor." But you could just as easily use your first name, and your students probably wouldn't think anything of it.
     
  14. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Exactly.

    And because it sounds like the person thinks they're too important to be called by their first name (or whatever) like the rest of the peons they're mingling with.
     
  15. Kestra

    Kestra Admiral Premium Member

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    "Her first name could be doctor!"

    I have been surrounded by real doctors (just teasing, don't get mad) my whole life. So it doesn't seem pretentious to me at all. Then again, with multiple doctors in the family, I'm used to hearing them referred to as Dr. Firstname or Dr. FirstInital. Which I suppose is less formal. If you have a doctorate in basket weaving, and want to be called doctor, I'll do it. I tend to assume that people have worked hard to earn the title that they have, so I respect that. Except for Dr. Phil.

    If you're pretentious and condescending, it will come out in other ways so there's no need to make an assumption from one thing.
     
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm curious to know exactly why "The" Doctor calls himself that, for that matter. :)

    I mean, sure, I doubt he'd want to use his real name, but why Doctor? What made him pick that particular title? Does he see himself trying to cure the universe's ills? :D
     
  17. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :lol: Amen!
     
  18. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    You haven't been watching the current season, have you? :p
     
  19. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ No. I haven't seen any DW after the TV movie.
     
  20. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I had profs who hated it when students included "Dr" when addressing them in person or emails. :lol: