Dr. -- MD, Ph.D and ED?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by jaymba, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Who has a right to call himself (or herself) 'doctor,'"

    Many holders of the first professional degree called Dr.

    Wile they don't realy have a doctorat or post graduate degree.

    For example Russian 5 year program that leads to specialty as Veterinarian - is first professional degree or DVM in USA.

    Allowed to take the National and State board exams to practice Veterinary medicine.

    The same is for other 5-6 year degree holders - kind of advanced masters degree.
  2. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    a small Carpathianism occasionally relevant

    To borrow something from West Carpathian usage: there is a special title for someone who has completed all--and I mean all--work for his or her doctorate and is awaiting the formal award of the degree: Doktorandus (m)/ Doktoranda (f). For example, our esteemed poster is Doktorandus Bill Grover at the moment.
  3. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Who has a right to use the title "Dr."?

    Use of the title isn't regulated by law as far as I know (except for various provisions governing practice of medicine without a license). So presumably everyone has the right to sign themselves "Dr." if they really want to, regardless of what degrees they have or haven't earned. That's one reason why I find it ridiculous that people spend thousands of dollars on degree mill degrees to allow them to do something that they could have done for free.

    Beyond that, it's all social usage and custom.

    Who has a right to expect other people to refer to him/her as "Dr"?

    Again, anyone has that right. People are free to expect anything that they want. Doesn't mean that their expectations are gonna be realized, though. That depends on other people's wishes.

    Does earning a doctorate (of whatever sort) obligate other people to use certain modes of address?

    I'd say in general, no. People are generally free to address other people as they choose. If words are supposed to be sincere, that has to be the case. But exercising one's freedom might not always be polite. Violating convention may carry adverse social consequences and isn't always in the speaker's own best interest.

    So we are back at the point of going along with what other people are doing and not standing out too dramatically.

    Personally, I try to be polite and try not to insult people gratuitously. So if failure to use a title in some social context would be interpreted as an insult, I'd probably use the title in order to avoid causing offense.

    But I can easily imagine cases where I wouldn't. If a Ph.D. was trying to claim authority and demanding deference in a field remote from his area of expertise, and if he was being a real jerk about it, I might rather pointedly address him as "Mr." That would probably be interpreted as an insult, and that would be accurate.

    On the other hand, if the social context was a professional meeting or something like that, and if my insult threatened to disrupt the proceedings, I would probably stick to convention out of respect for the gathering, even if I had no respect for the individual. Classrooms too.

    But bottom line, I think that if respect is to be genuine, it has to be freely given.

    Of course, those in power can exercise any sanctions that are within their power in response to perceived insults, such as failing impertinent students. There's an inevitable amount of ass-kissing and sucking-up involved with being a successful student. Students routinely say one thing to their professor's face and quite another behind his back.

    These ego-games are one thing that's soured me on higher education. But to be fair, the same kind of things take place in every hierarchical organization and are probably just part of the human condition.

    It's the elementary school playground principle in its elaborated adult form.
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Actually, the MD is not the highest degree in medical education, as it is possible to continue with one's medical education and get an MS and a PhD in various medical topics.
  5. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Actually, the MD is not the highest degree in medical education, as it is possible to continue with one's medical education and get an MS and a PhD in various medical topics.
  6. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member


    Interesting development in the "use the title" business.

    The Arizona Supreme Court has declared that referring to oneself as "J.D." in advertising constitutes the practice of law.

    I am by no means sure whether this actually means anything. The Arizona legislature and Supreme Court got into a pissing contest a few years ago when the legislature attempted to regulate the State Bar, a semi public agency of the Court. The Supreme Court huffed and puffed and said, "Only WE regulate lawyers" which is pretty much what the state constitution says. The leg. said, "Oh, okay, if that's the way you wanna be, we'll sunset our UPL statute. UPL will no longer be a crime in Arizona." And they did.

    Soooo, the Court had to figure out what to do to restrict law practice to lawyers and regulate non lawyers doing law type things, such as document preparers.

    They claim that their rules give them the authority to do this, but that is nonsense from a jurisprudential standpoint. So if you call yourself "J.D." without being admitted, I guess it's contempt of Court. Weird.
  7. Casey

    Casey New Member

    Hi Dr. Nosborne: Very interesting! Does this mean it would be UPL or contempt for someone with an ABA accredited JD, but no license to practice, to use the JD initials after their name on a business card?
  8. Dr Dave

    Dr Dave New Member

    First, it is never acceptable for one to sign as, or to refer to oneself as, "Dr. John Doe, Ph.D." or similar. It's not only redundant but also simply bad form. On my business card my name appears as "David A. April, D.B.A.". I also sign correspondence that way. In the workplace colleagues and others outside of the company do sometimes address me as "Doctor". I don't encourage it and much prefer the informality of my first name and let everyone know that.

    David A. April
    BA, University of Massachusetts/Amherst
    MBA, Boston College
    ACM, Boston College
    DBA, California Pacific University
    CAM, Institute of Certified Professional Managers
    CM, Institute of Certified Professional Managers
    CRM, Institute of Certified Records Managers
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2005
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    And yet, the name you chose to use when participating in this board evokes the term "doctor"?

    I once made an observation that it seems the only people who put "DR," "Ph.D.," or "Doctor" in their login names almost always (a) have no doctorate or (b) have one from an unaccredited school. I didn't speculate on why, and won't here. But I find it interesting.
  10. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Rich Douglas,

    Ain't it the truth? My theory about that is, such people call themselves "Doctor" because they hope others will begin to call them "Doctor".


    Yes, it means EXACTLY that. The specific harm the Arizona Supreme Court wished to address was a surprising influx of disbarred or suspended lawyers from other states.
  11. David Williams

    David Williams New Member

    FWIW. I was once licensed to practice in Georgia and, its been a while, but as I recall the law mandated just exactly this. I believe it was to ensure the public would be able to identify the discipline; eg, MD, DC, DDS, PhD, etc. If any GA residents read this, did I get it right?

  12. lchemist

    lchemist New Member

    yes, because in the Roman calendar it was the eight month.

    Using "arguments etymological authority" is completely legitimate and sound.
  13. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2005
  14. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I went and picked up a prescription last night. The pharmacist was explaining some drug interactions to someone on the 'phone.

    Her name tag said, "Dr. Jane Jones, R.Ph." Sooo, I guess that the D.Pharm. folks ARE using the title.
  15. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Actually, MDs are not doctors at all in the academic sense, but practitioners... There is no requirement for original research, just a high level of proficiency in the profession. However, many of them don't know that they are not actual doctors, who have advanced their respective disciplines, so you may want to call them "doctor" to be polite.

  16. alarmingidea

    alarmingidea New Member

    Do you routinely use "nice girl" to refer to intellectually-challenged male children?

    Prescriptively arguing against the validity of a commonly understood current meaning based on earlier, obsolete etymology is almost always either a cheap, dull rhetorical dodge or an attempt to sound wikkid smaht by making a conversation complicated where it doesn't need to be. What on Earth do people who make that sort of argument mean when they say "marzipan"?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2005
  17. lchemist

    lchemist New Member

    You are right, thank you for clarifying the issue.
  18. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    :D You can definitely tell that you've been hanging around Boston/Cambridge for a while now. ;)
  19. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Whay wikkid smaht?

    Whay fahr wikkid smaht?

    I guess Bruce speaks this whay.
  20. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Ya know there, Jay, MBA, you could go get yourself a good DBA and then start calling yourself Dr. J. - Ted, MBA, aka Mr. T.

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