Who Should Get to Be Called ‘Doctor’?

Is it appropriate to use the title “doctor” to address people who do not have medical degrees? This issue blew up recently after The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece written by a contributor who said that Jill Biden, EdD, shouldn’t use the title “doctor.” The opinion piece said she’s not an MD and challenged the idea that having a PhD is worth the honorific of “doctor.”

Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan, PhD, argued that the piece was wrong, although he noted that he often prefers to be called “professor,” “so as to avoid confusions about the status of my degree.”

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