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Problematizing retrospective diagnosis in the history of disease

Other TitlesTwentieth-Century Historiography of Human Disease: A Preliminary Outline from a Socio-Constructionist Perspective.
AuthorsArrizabalaga, Jon
Issue Date30-Jun-2002
PublisherConsejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (España)
CitationAsclepio. Revista de Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia LIV, 1: 51-70 (2002)
AbstractThe perception of biomedical achievements in the last century has led most Westerners and those in the rest of the world under the influence of Western scientific culture, to assume that their own representations of disease and of its causes are the most authentic, the «truest», on the assumption that such representations are the culmination of an historical process through which modern medical science gradually achieved a better understanding of these phenomena —in accordance with a mathematical image, so esteemed by Popperian philosophers of science, of scientific knowledge as asymptotic to natural reality.
DescriptionEarlier versions of this article were presented at the 19th International Congress of Historical Sciences (Oslo, 6-13 August 2000) and at the 11th Simposium de la Sociedad Española de Historia de la Medicina (Jaraiz de la Vera, Cáceres, 22-23 September 2000).
El dossier "Historia de la enfermedad" (Asclepio LIV, 1, 2002) incluye los siguientes trabajos: The history of disease: Introduction /José Luis Peset. Identifying disease in the past: cutting the gordian knot / Andrew Cunningham. Pour une histoire et une anthropologie des effets iatrogènes du "combat" contre la maladie / Marie Christine Pouchelle. Problematizing retrospective diagnosis in the history of disease / Jon Arrizabalaga. The history of smallpox and its prevention in Sweden / Peter Sköld. Comments on the round table the history of disease / Lars Göran Tedebrand.
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