Ludwik Fleck on proto-ideas in medicine

Abstract
`Proto-idea' was a central concept in the thinking of the Polish microbiologist and philosopher of science Ludwik Fleck (1896–1961). Based on studies of the origin of the modern concept of syphilis, Fleck claimed that many established scientific facts are best understood as interpretations of pre scientific, somewhat hazy `proto-ideas' in the framework of a certain `thought-style'. As an example,Fleck saw the modern knowledge of infection as an interpretation of the ancient proto-idea of diseases as caused by minute `animalcules'. However, the epistemological aspects of the concept of proto-ideas have only been sparsely developed and discussed by Fleck and his critics. This paper attempts to bridge the gap. Firstly, I reconstruct the concept of proto-ideasin the context of Fleck's constructivist theory of knowledge. Secondly, I illustrate the relation between Fleck's concept of proto-ideas and his nominalist view on medical taxonomy. Finally, I discuss four philosophical problems implied by Fleck's concept of proto-ideas: (a) the problem of combining two conflicting perspectives on the history of science (b) the problem of accounting for the notion of` continuity' within a non realist theory of knowledge (c) the problem of ascribing no truth-content to proto-ideas, and (d) the problem concerning the non-neutrality of the analyst's viewpoint
Keywords constructivism  Fleck  medical epistemology  medical taxonomy  proto-ideas  thought-collective  thought-style
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,365
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Melinda B. Fagan (2009). Fleck and the Social Constitution of Scientific Objectivity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 40 (4):272-285.
Similar books and articles
Kazem Sadegh-Zadeh (1981). World 5 and Medical Knowledge. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 6 (3):263-270.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-08-31

Total downloads

11 ( #138,532 of 1,102,742 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #182,643 of 1,102,742 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.