Nicholas Binney (Exeter): A Veterinary Surgeon's Adventures in the History and Philosophy of Science

30.11.2017 16:00 Uhr – 18:00 Uhr

wann: Donnerstag, 30. November 2017, 16-18 Uhr

wo: Historicum, Schellingstr. 12, Raum K026

Vortrag im Rahmen des Oberseminars "Perspektiven der Wissenschaftsgeschichte"

"I will discuss how history, philosophy and medicine can be integrated in a mutually beneficial way. More than this, I argue that these apparently quite different disciplines can profitably be treated as aspects of the same subject. Working as a veterinary surgeon in the U.K., I became concerned about how diagnostic practices were evaluated. I learned from historians about exploring the development of knowledge of disease over extended periods of time to uncover the historically contingent reasons for accepting various diagnostic practices as valuable. However, some historians argue that longue durée history of disease is inevitably ahistorical, which is a view that I reject. Some historians also prefer to isolate themselves from epistemic concerns about justification, truth and correctness. This view sometimes leads to knowledge being reduced to whatever is believed to be true, a view which is unacceptable from a medical perspective. So I am faced with the historiographic, epistemic and medical challenge of writing properly historical longue durée history of disease, which do not collapse into extreme forms of relativism, and can be used to inform medical practice in the present day. I will argue that Ludwik Fleck’s historiographic and epistemic approach is valuable for meeting this challenge." - Nicholas Binney