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Title: Broadening the Vision of the History of Medicine
Contributor(s): Albury, William Randall (author)
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: From the time of the Hippocratic writers until the Middle of thetwentieth century, the history of medicine was a part of medicine itself; it was the business of physicians. But as medicine changed over this long period, so too did the role of the history of medicine.For the authors of the Hippocratic texts—for Celsus, Galen and otherwriters of antiquity—the history of medicine or, more precisely, the history of medical doctrines, was a matter to be considered and argued by an author as he worked out and justified his own position. This approach was similar to Aristotle’s philosophical method of quoting from, criticising and correcting his predecessors. It was, for Aristotle as for the earliest historians of medical doctrine, a way of establishing the truest or most plausible view. The focus that Medieval and Renaissance medical scholars placed on authoritative texts, which now included authoritative texts from Arabic as well as Graeco–Roman sources, perpetuated the ancient role of the history of medicine within medicine itself throughout this period, although in a somewhat different form.In the 250 years between the establishment of modern anatomicalstudies (most notably by Vesalius in the 1540s)2 and the definitive linkage of clinical observation with pathological anatomy (most notably by French medical reformers of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era), the proliferation of new theoretical constructs and experimental techniques eroded the authority that canonical texts had previously enjoyed as models or paradigms of medicine as a system.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Health and History, 7(1), p. 2-16
Publisher: Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 1442-1771
Field of Research (FOR): 220205 History and Philosophy of Medicine
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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