DOI: 10.17720/2409-5834.v3.3.2016.21n

Dmitry A. Balalykin 
I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation

Periodization of the history of a research object serves not only as a general guide to a researcher, but also reflects his methodology. The author discusses the main methodological issues in the periodization of medical history in a historiography. In relation to the history of medicine, these include the use of analysis principles that are characteristic for universal history, an understanding of the history of medicine as a “healing art”, commitment to the theory of conflict between science and religion, as well as the use of periodization schemes developed for other scientific disciplines. All this leads to a distorted view of the object and the subject of scientific research, excludes a holistic understanding of the history of medicine and leads to a phenomenological approach and incorrect research conclusions. The author believes that the history of medicine should be considered as part of the history and philosophy of science and offers a periodization of the development of medicine that corresponds to this approach. In his opinion, four stages should be recognized. The first stage (6th century BC to 2nd century AD) is associated with the birth of ancient Greek rational medicine. The second (2nd to 16th centuries) is associated with rational medicine in its protoscience phase, characterized by conceptual unity on the basis on Galen’s theoretical and practical system. The third (17th to 19th centuries) is connected with the scientific revolution in medicine, during which a system of ideas about medicine as a science was formed. The fourth (20th century to the present day) reflects current modern medicine. The author gives consideration to different approaches to the periodization of the history of medicine, with examples from both domestic and foreign monographs and textbooks. Special attention is paid to those that form the main trends in the study of the history of medicine. A particular focus is placed on the concept of “religious and philosophical systems” as a methodological approach in the study of medicine in the protoscience period.

Keywords: history of medicine, history and philosophy of science, periodization, methodology of the reserch

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