The Medical Theory of Richard Koch II: Natural Philosophy and History [Book Review]

Abstract
Richard Koch1 became known in the 1920s with works on basic medical theory. Among these publications, the character of medical action and its status within the theory of science was presented as the most important theme. While science is inherently driven by the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, medicine pursues the practical purpose of helping the sick. Therefore, medicine must be seen as an active relationship between a helping and a suffering person. While elucidating this relationship, Koch discusses the fundamental elements of medicine found in natural philosophy and the relationship of medicine to its own history. One of his aims is to unite natural history and the history of ideas without reducing intellectual processes to biological ones. Koch considers free will as something intuitively certain. It must serve as an axiom which will capture human as well as non-human reality. Based on the fact that human free will, considered a psychic quality, evolved out of inanimate matter, Koch grants matter (proto-) psychic qualities. They are evoked through specific constellations of matter. – With regard to history, Koch rejects the notion of constant progress. The history of medicine has provided insights that cannot be surpassed but can be obscured. Historical self-contemplation serves as a means for avoiding any deviations which may prevent medicine from fulfiling its ultimate purpose. Koch connects nature and history through the concept of a unity between natural history and the historical development of medicine. Medicine is considered an especially complex development of a purposive reaction to harmful stimuli, a reaction which can already be encountered in unicellular organisms. Without intending to reduce historical and mental processes to biological ones, Koch sets for himself the aim of gathering different phenomena and presenting them in one encapsulating unity
Keywords medicine and history  relationship between natural history and history of mind  Richard Koch  the fundamental principles of medicine in natural philosophy  the relationship between matter and spirit
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Reprint years 2005
DOI 10.1007/s11019-004-7446-4
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What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
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Creative Evolution.Henri Bergson & Arthur Mitchell - 1912 - International Journal of Ethics 22 (4):467-469.
Atter and Memory. [REVIEW]Henri Bergson - 1911 - Ancient Philosophy 21:318.

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