Start Date

1-5-2019 12:30 PM

End Date

1-5-2019 1:45 PM

Disciplines

European History | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Subjects

French Revolution -- Social aspects, Medicine -- France -- History -- 18th century

Description

Modern practice of medicine is reliably grounded in thorough observation and experimental study before application in a clinical setting. Yet before the universality of verifiable scientific justification, theoretical—and generally fallacious—models for the workings of the human body predominated, including the philosophy of the four elemental humors introduced by Hippocrates and Galen. In France, the decline of humorism’s supremacy did not occur until the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the same time period during which the long-standing convention of absolute monarchy was violently eradicated by the French Revolution. How, if at all, was the ending of humoral remedies like bloodletting connected to demands for liberty, equality, and reason? This paper examines how revolutionary values incited and were mirrored in French medical reform at the time, specifically presenting the unification of physicianship and surgery and the institutional shift towards empirical methodology as key contributors to the deposition of humorism.

Description

3rd place winner of the Karen E. Hoppes Young Historians Award for Outstanding Research and Writing.

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/28508

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May 1st, 12:30 PM May 1st, 1:45 PM

Liberté, Égalité, Santé: The Evolution of Medicine in Revolution-Era France

Modern practice of medicine is reliably grounded in thorough observation and experimental study before application in a clinical setting. Yet before the universality of verifiable scientific justification, theoretical—and generally fallacious—models for the workings of the human body predominated, including the philosophy of the four elemental humors introduced by Hippocrates and Galen. In France, the decline of humorism’s supremacy did not occur until the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the same time period during which the long-standing convention of absolute monarchy was violently eradicated by the French Revolution. How, if at all, was the ending of humoral remedies like bloodletting connected to demands for liberty, equality, and reason? This paper examines how revolutionary values incited and were mirrored in French medical reform at the time, specifically presenting the unification of physicianship and surgery and the institutional shift towards empirical methodology as key contributors to the deposition of humorism.