Some Basic Explanations of Disease: An Historian’s Viewpoint

  • Lester S. King
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 1)


At the age of three or four a child begins to ask the question, “Why?” In so far as we can think our way into the mind of a child, we might say that he is trying to understand the world around him and meets with puzzles that he cannot resolve. He is seeking an explanation. This word derives from the Latin planus, which means “flat” or “smooth.” Explanation renders smooth that which formerly had been rough or uneven. Before a person seeks an explanation he must be aware of something rough or uneven, something troublesome in the flow of experience. The explanation, when accepted, removes that rough spot and renders the flow of experience once more smooth.


Intellectual History Explanatory Theory BASIC Explanation Animal Spirit Strange Thing 
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  1. 8.
    Friedrich Hoffmann, Fundamenta Medicinae [1695], trans. by Lester S. King (London: Macdonald, and New York: American Elsevier, 1971 ).Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    Joseph Glanvill, Saducismus Triumphatus, or Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions [1689] (Gainesville, Florida: Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints, 1966), p.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lester S. King
    • 1
  1. 1.ChicagoUSA

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