Writings on Medicine

Writings on Medicine

Writings on Medicine

Writings on Medicine

Synopsis

At the time of his death in 1995, Georges Canguilhem was a highly respected historian of science and medicine, whose engagement with questions of normality, the ideologization of scientific thought, and the conceptual history of biology had marked the thought of philosophers such as Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Pierre Bourdieu, and Gilles Deleuze. This collection of short, incisive, and highly accessible essays on the major concepts of modern medicine shows Canguilhem at the peak of his use of historical practice for philosophical engagement. In order to elaborate a philosophy of medicine, Canguilhem examines paramount problems such as the definition and uses of health, the decline of the Hippocratic understanding of nature, the experience of disease, the limits of psychology in medicine, myths and realities of therapeutic practices, thedifference between cure and healing, the organism's self-regulation, and medical metaphors linking the organism to society. Writings on Medicine is at once an excellent introduction to Canguilhem's work and a forceful, insightful, and accessible engagement with elemental concepts in medicine. Thebook is certain to leave its imprint on anthropology, history, philosophy, bioethics, and the social studies of medicine.

Excerpt

At the time of his death in 1995, Georges Canguilhem was a highly respected epistemologist and historian of biology and medicine. He was known for having extended and transformed traditions set by Gaston Bachelard and Henri Bergson, and as an influential figure for generations of scholars, including Michel Foucault, François Dagognet, Louis Althusser, Pierre Bourdieu, Dominique Lecourt, Gilbert Simondon, and Gilles Deleuze. At different stages of his life, he was in conversation with important contemporaries, among them François Jacob, Jean Hyppolite, Maurice MerleauPonty, Jean Cavaillès, Kurt Goldstein, and René Leriche. He spearheaded both a radical undermining of scientific positivism and a retheorization of central categories of biology, medicine, and psychology in a period marked by major advances in these fields.

Most of the work that placed him in such an exceptional position is to be found in five books published over the course of half a century: Essai sur . . .

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