The Identity of the History of Science and Medicine: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Identity of the History of Science and Medicine

1st Edition

By Andrew Cunningham


284 pages

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In these essays, Andrew Cunningham is concerned with issues of identity - what was the identity of topics, disciplines, arguments, diseases in the past, and whether they are identical with (more usually, how they are not identical with) topics, disciplines, arguments or diseases in the present. Historians usually tend to assume such continuous identities of present attitudes and activities with past ones, and rarely question them; the contention here is that this gives us a false image of the very things in the past that we went to look for.


'As any scholar in the History of Science or Medicine will already know, Cunningham's work is subtle, programmatic, and immensely important for how we navigate and situate our thinking in relation to historical moments, actors and activities.' Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: 'We will not anticipate the past, our retrospection will now be all to the future'; Part 1 Natural Philosophy/Science Identity Issues: Getting the game right: some plain words on the identity and invention of science; How the Principia got its name; Decentering the 'big picture': The Origins of Modern Science and the modern origins of science (with Perry Williams). Part 2 The Identity of 'Medieval Science': Science and religion in the 13th century revisited: the making of St Francis the proto-ecologist, part 1: creature not nature; Science and religion in the 13th century revisited: the making of St Francis the proto-ecologist, part 2: nature not creature. Part 3 The Identity of Particular Investigative Projects: Aristotle's animal books: ethology, biology, anatomy, or philosophy?; Paracelsus fat and thin: thoughts on reputations and realities; Thomas Sydenham: epidemics, experiment and the 'good old cause'. Part 4 Disease Identity: Transforming plague: the laboratory and the identity of infectious disease; Identifying disease in the past: cutting the Gordian Knot; Index.

About the Author

Andrew Cunningham is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, UK.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
SCIENCE / History