A case-study, small-group-discussion (“focal problem”) exercise in the history of medicine was designed, piloted, and evaluated in an overseas course and an on-campus elective course for medical students. Results suggest that this is a feasible approach to teaching history of medicine which can overcome some of the problems often encountered in teaching this subject in the medical curriculum.
The social and cultural history of medicine and health is a growing field of research in Sweden, stimulated by the present political, economic and social concern about health and health care. Since there have never been any chairs in the history of medicine within the medical faculty, the topic has mostly been approached by historians of science and ideas, social historians and anthropologists and sociologists interested in long-term developments. Psychiatry and psychiatric care is one of the (...) most popular subjects. Other fields are professional history and social policy, cultural and local studies on different aspects, epidemics and public health and socio-demographic studies of mortality and morbidity. This report presents some major Swedish contributions and gives a short summary of some of the results. There has, during the recent years, been a trend towards interdisciplinary exchange, for instance through Swedish and Scandinavian networks, and towards an international orientation that has led to comparative studies and exchange of results, a trend that can also be observed in many other countries. (shrink)
History of medicine is taught in West Germany as part of the standard course offerings for medical students and is well represented at many universities. But history of science and technology unfortunately still lacks any adequate supporting system and accordingly barely continues to survive at a few institutions of the Federal Republic. Although history of medicine serves a different function than history of science and technology, closer cooperation between these groups is possible and greatly (...) desired for the future. (shrink)
Critically exploring medical thought in a cultural milieu with no discernible influence from the European Enlightenment, _Being Human_ reveals an otherwise unnoticed intersection of early modern sensibilities and religious values in traditional Tibetan medicine. It further studies the adaptation of Buddhist concepts and values to medical concerns and suggests important dimensions of Buddhism's role in the development of Asian and global civilization. Through its unique focus and sophisticated reading of source materials,_ Being Human_ adds a crucial chapter in the (...) larger historiography of science and religion. The book opens with the bold achievements in Tibetan medical illustration, commentary, and institution building during the period of the Fifth Dalai Lama and his regent, Desi Sangye Gyatso, then looks back to the work of earlier thinkers, tracing a strategically astute dialectic between scriptural and empirical authority on questions of history and the nature of human anatomy. It follows key differences between medicine and Buddhism in attitudes toward gender and sex and the moral character of the physician, who had to serve both the patient's and the practitioner's well-being. _Being Human_ ultimately finds that Tibetan medical scholars absorbed ethical and epistemological categories from Buddhism yet shied away from ideal systems and absolutes, instead embracing the imperfectability of the human condition. (shrink)
A popular saying attributed to Aristotle states that ‘medicine begins where philosophy ends’—but this principle does not seem entirely valid for the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when medicine and philosophy were considered to be integral parts of the same branch of knowledge. For this reason, although today medicine and philosophy are clearly distinct disciplines, historians of ideas cannot study them entirely separately. Indeed, since the early modern era was a period of profound revision of knowledge, (...) probably only a truly interdisciplinary investigation can identify the conceptual shifts and transfers capable of reinstating medicine in its fundamental role in the development of civilisation and modern thought, in particular as a model of a rational knowledge aimed at improving the social good through a fitting interpretation of experience. This article intends to offer arguments in support of such a historiographical approach, and to illustrate certain interesting methodological ideas that emerge from a study in which the history of philosophy and history of medicine cross-pollinate. (shrink)
The principal argument of the present paper is that the human body is as much a reflective formation of multiple discourses as it is an effect of natural and environmental processes. This paper examines the implications of this argument, and suggests that recognizing the body in this light can be illuminating, not only for our conception of the body, but also for our understanding of medicine. Since medicine is itself a discursive formation, a science with both a (...) class='Hi'>history, and a future, it is argued that much can be learned by reflecting on the progression of models, or “paradigm-shifts,”, in terms of which modern medicine has articulated the human body that figures at the heart of its discourse. Four historical periods of medicine will be considered, each one governed by its own distinctive paradigm. It is argued, finally, that, with the emergence of behavioural medicine, and, more particularly, psychoneuroimmunology, a new discursive formation in medicine, one can see a new conceptualization of the human body beginning to take shape; and that this new figure of the body makes it possible for the very first time to conceive the construction of testable hypotheses regarding correlations between the objective body of science and the phenomenological body of experienced meaning. (shrink)
Avicenna was a physician and philosopher in an era known as the Islamic Golden Age. His early medical encyclopedia, The Canon of Medicine, was a groundbreaking text that scholars and healers read for centuries afterward.