Getting physical: Empiricism’s medical History
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The Koyréan view of the Scientific Revolution as a conceptual change in the mathematical/astronomical sciences has cast a long shadow. The medical sciences, which had a much wider presence in the larger society, still tend to be placed in the outer orbit of the historiography of the Scientific Revolution which predominately revolves around the astronomical/mathematical sciences. Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood might be seen as having some analogies with the shift to the Copernican heliocentric cosmology but early modern medicine as a whole tends to be viewed as lacking the theoretical elegance of the mathematical sciences. It is the aim of this wide-ranging collection of essays to revise such a view by looking again at the character of empiricism and its close links with the medical sciences.
As Wolfe and Gal remind us forcibly in their introduction, the roots of empiricism are intertwined with the medical sciences. Such historical origins can be important in...