Technical Alterations in the Problem of Error: From the True and the False to the Normal and the Pathological

  • Samuel TalcottEmail author


Drawing on Canguilhem’s early writings, manuscript notes, famous medical thesis, and his co-authored Treatise on Logic and Morals, this chapter considers his classic formulations of the problem of error and argues that he partially transforms these through his encounter with human suffering and sickness. In both his genealogy of a thesis in positivist medicine and his own account of sickness and health, error as mistake is replaced by an interest in the role confusion and suffering play in sustaining creative endeavors in medical technique and sciences. While Canguilhem might thus appear to turn away from error, I argue that he remains committed to its elemental form: the trial and errors of life, be these exemplified by organisms or the history of science.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesUniversity of the SciencesPhiladelphiaUSA

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