The Dialectics of Understanding: On Genres and the Use of Debate in Medical History

F.G. Huisman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Answering the call made by Frederic L. Holmes to introduce the concept of the longue duree in the history of science and medicine, this essay sets out to weigh the pros and cons of the concept for the field. It argues that four genres (or traditions) can be distinguished in medical historiography, each with their own ambitions, methods, perspectives and audiences. It concludes by calling for articulated and lively debate between the protagonists of the different genres as the royal way to historical understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-40
JournalHistory and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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