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Two metaphors from physical medicine 

Two metaphors from physical medicine
Chapter:
Two metaphors from physical medicine
Author(s):

Neil Pickering

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198530886.003.0005
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date: 08 April 2020

The notion of metaphor developed in the previous chapter, has been taken up in this. In two examples I have tried to show how an act of the imagination may create the objects of science. The two cases stand at opposite ends of a range. Pasteur's claims about vaccination are significant, but they are localized. They do not represent a wholesale change in ways of looking at things. They represent a development in or creation of a category. This development appears relatively uncontroversial. The claim that the body is a machine, whether made by Descartes in the early seventeenth century, or the editors of Gray's Anatomy in the late twentieth century, is a claim of a different order of magnitude. It underlies a shift in vision profound and embracing enough almost to be classified as a world view (to take up Stephen Pepper's (1961) terminology). It has spawned an almost numberless clutch of succeeding analogies and explanations.

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