PhilSci Archive

The Doctrine of Specific Etiology

Ross, Lauren N. (2018) The Doctrine of Specific Etiology. [Preprint]

This is the latest version of this item.

[img]
Preview
Text
DSE.pdf

Download (190kB) | Preview

Abstract

Modern medicine is often said to have originated with nineteenth century germ theory, which attributed diseases to bacterial contagions. The success of this theory is often associated with an underlying principle referred to as the “doctrine of specific etiology.” This doctrine refers to specificity at the level of disease causation or etiology. While the importance of this doctrine is frequently emphasized in the philosophical, historical, and medical literature, these sources lack a clear account of the types of specificity that it involves and why exactly they matter. This paper argues that the nineteenth century germ theory model involves two types of specificity at the level of etiology. One type receives significant attention in the literature, but its influence on modern medicine has been misunderstood. A second type is present in this model, but it has been completely overlooked in the extant literature. My analysis clarifies how these types of specificity led to a novel conception of etiology that continues to figure in medicine today.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Ross, Lauren N.rossl@uci.edu
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Medicine
Depositing User: Dr. Lauren N. Ross
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2018 13:39
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2018 13:39
Item ID: 15079
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Medicine
Date: 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15079

Available Versions of this Item

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item