[Hannah Chair, History of Medicine, Queen's University]

Phil 401/801 Hist 483/883

 

An exploration of concepts of disease with emphasis on the origin and nature of the current "medical model", its advantages and shortcomings. The course begins with a discussion of readings concerning competitive theories of disease and proceeds to analysis of the construction of specific diseases in different contexts.

Students will be required to research one topic for presentation in the class and write two essays. A core bibliography and supplemental bibliography are included in the syllabus.

not offered in 2007-8

A. Objectives for Students of History

  • 1. to understand the meaning of epistemology and how it applies to medical history.
  • 2. to recognize and be able to utilize analytically the distinction made between disease and illness as it appears in various readings from different periods in the past and in class discussion.
  • 3. to understand how diseases have been constructed in the past, the factors that have influenced the process (eg. illness, patient, observer), how these processes have changed, and how they influence disease construction in the present.
  • 4. to understand the historical origins of the term "medical model" and to be able to recognize some of its successes and failures with respect to the explanation and management of illness in the recent past.
  • 5. to understand the origins and shifting significance of key concepts in medical epistemology, such as symptom, sign, prognosis, diagnosis, cause, perceived cause, normal, pathological, social construction, theory, medicalization, positivism, etc.
  • 6. a) to understand, be able to identify and utilize as an analytical tool the two competing pairs of disease theories: organismic versus non-organismic; ontological versus physiological.
  • b) to be aware of the periods of origin and of dominance of each of the main theories and the reasons for the change. Familiarity of the relevant historical literature is expected.
  • 7. a) to be able to analyze a text about disease/illness--of any author, of any time--and identify the theories and concepts informing both the author of the text and the subject s/he has written about.
  • b) to read an unidentified text--of any author, of any time--and by relying on the analyses of concpetual priorities, be able to suggest a (plausible) author and/or culture of origin.
  • 8. to be able to utilize secondary sources in history and philosophy as an aid to analysis of a primary source.


B. Objectives for Students of Philosophy

 

  • 1. to understand the meaning of epistemology and how it applies to medicine.
  • 2. to recognize and be able to utilize analytically the distinction made in class discussion and readings between disease and illness.
  • 3. to understand how diseases are constructed and the factors that influence the process: eg. illness, patient, observer.
  • 4. to understand what is meant by the current term "medical model" and to be able to recognize some of its advantages and disadvantages with respect to the explanation and management of illness.
  • 5. to understand ands utilize key concepts in medical epistemology, such as symptom, sign, prognosis, diagnosis, cause, perceived cause, social construction, theory, medicalization, positivism, etc.
  • 6. to understand, be able to identify and utilize as an analytical tool the two competing pairs of disease theories: organismic versus non-organismic; ontological versus physiological.
  • 7. to be able to analyze a text about disease/illness and identify the theories and concepts informing both the author of the text and the subject s/he has written about.
  • 8. to be able to utilize secondary sources as an aid to analysis of a text.





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