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The History of Medicine and the Scientific Revolution

Harold J. Cook
Vol. 102, No. 1 (March 2011), pp. 102-108
DOI: 10.1086/658659
Stable URL:
Page Count: 7
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The History of Medicine and the Scientific Revolution
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ABSTRACT The “new philosophy” of the seventeenth century has continued to be explained mainly on its own terms: as a major philosophical turn. Twentieth-century modernism gave pride of place to big ideas and reinforced the tendency to explain the rise of science in light of new ideas. Such orientations subordinated medicine (and technology) to sciences that appeared to be more theoretical. In attempts to persuade historians of science of the importance of medicine, then, many authors took an approach arguing that the major changes in the history of medicine during the so-called scientific revolution arose from philosophical commitments. Yet because medicine is also intimately connected to other aspects of life, its histories proved to be recalcitrant to such reductions and so continue to offer many possibilities for those who seek fresh means to address histories of body and mind united rather than divided.