MIT STS 005 - Relativism (2 pages)

Previewing page 1 of 2 page document View the full content.
View Full Document

Relativism



Previewing page 1 of actual document.

View the full content.
View Full Document
View Full Document

Relativism

53 views


Pages:
2
School:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Course:
Sts 005 - Disease and Society in America
Disease and Society in America Documents

Unformatted text preview:

Weekly Writing Assignment 6 Relativism Due in Section week of 10 18 10 20 Studying the history of medicine and therapeutics poses many problems One has been especially difficult Physicians and historians have traditionally judged past therapeutic systems on the basis of what we know now producing a large body of historical research that condemns past therapeutic knowledge as ignorant superstitious misguided fraudulent etc Only recently have historians begun to move away from this judgmental history Adopting a more relativistic approach they have become curious about how past therapeutic systems functioned That will be our focus in this part of the course To evaluate historical therapeutic systems fairly you need to be able to do two things First you need to be sympathetic curious open minded etc when you read about old treatments Instead of dismissing them try to imagine how or why they might have worked Second you need to be critical and skeptical about our modern therapeutic ideas Do not assume that scientific medicine has progressed rationally and steadily As you will see there is much that is contingent and irrational in modern medicine Therefore you must be openminded about everything and you must take nothing for granted This week s readings let you practice these skills Judgmental and narrow minded assessments about past therapies are not a new phenomena In his account of Indian healing Heckewelder makes his own opinions exceedingly clear While aspects of Indian healing systems were quite laudable e g he recounts many patients who were cured by Indian healers others were abominable especially the religion and superstition He implies two things first that you could always categorize a treatment as rational or superstitious and second that European and American medicine had left superstition behind and functioned solely on a rational basis Is Heckewelder being fair Josselyn and Ulrich both provide detailed glimpses into the medical world of the British colonies



View Full Document

Access the best Study Guides, Lecture Notes and Practice Exams

Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view Relativism and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view Relativism and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?