The Doctor and the Charlatan

Isabelle Stengers

Abstract

We all know, in fact we are sure, that our medical practices are very different from those in the times of Molière or of Louis XVI. In one way or another medicine has today become ‘modern’ in the same way as the whole set of knowledges and practices that call themselves rational. This is obvious, but I would like to interrogate this obviousness. Not to debunk it so as to show that beyond these appearances nothing has changed, but in order to focus in a slightly clearer way on ‘what’ has changed. To be even more precise, I would like to focus on ‘what’ has changed for the doctor, the one who practises medicine.

Keywords

medicine; modernity

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