Sergey N. Zatravkin
FSSBI “N.A. Semashko National Research Institute of Public Health”
This article expresses and explains the author’s point of view on the periodization of the history of medicine from the 17th to the 21st century. To substantiate his view the author cites the main results of his study on the history of medicine in the Modern and Contemporary eras, which is based on the use of the philosophical-methodological concept of the structure and dynamics of scientiﬁ c knowledge developed by V.S. Stepin for analyzing the history of medicine. The study showed that the historical process of the development of medicine from the 17th to the 21st century did not have a linear evolution related to the gradual increase of knowledge about the human organism and human diseases. In this period there were many cases in which the development of medicine was impossible without a radical review of the entire system of ideas on the subject of this scientiﬁ c-practical activity and the methods for understanding it. These situations occurred either as a result of a systemic crisis related to the inner development of medicine itself or due to the inﬂ uence of other ﬁ elds of knowledge, which stimulated the study of phenomena that earlier doctors did not pay attention to. The scientiﬁ c revolutions served as a way out of these situations. Each revolution led to a radical review of the ideas on the foundations of the biological process, the causes and essences of diseases and the approach to diagnosing and treating human sickness.
It is known for a fact that between the 17th and 21st centuries there were ﬁ ve disciplinary scientiﬁ c revolutions, three of which were global and two ‒ local. We will uncover the mechanisms of each scientiﬁ c revolution and look at the results of the historical reconstruction of the reality, ideals, norms for the doctors’ research activity and the philosophical foundations of medical science that accompanied these scientiﬁ c revolutions.
Based on these results, the author proposes to distinguish ﬁ ve separate stages in the history of medicine in the Modern and Contemporary eras, each of which corresponds to one of the ﬁ ve scientiﬁ c revolutions that took place in this period.
Keywords: periodization, history of medicine, the scientiﬁ c revolution