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Title: Medicine as culture : Edinburgh and the Scottish Enlightenment.
Author: Lawrence, Christopher John.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1984
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Within fifty years of its foundation in 1726 the Edinburgh Medical School had become the pre-emjnent centre of medical education in the English speaking world. This pre-eminence was part of the cultural movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment. What is attempted here is an elucidation of the intellectual content of the medicine taught at Edinburgh during the period 1726-1776 and the relation of its specific features to the changing Scottish social and philosophical context. When the School was founded its comprehensive curriculum was virtually a copy of that created by Hermann Boerhaave at Leyden. The professors at Edinburgh taught that medicine was a systematic body of knowledge which was to be learned synthetically, beginning with Newtonian natural philosophy. The establishment of Boerhaave's medical system in Edinburgh signified the increasing power in the city of pro-union,improvement minded Scots committed to the values of the Enlightenment. The Edinburgh medical courses on offer in the 1770s had overall similarity with those of the earlier period. The professors still taught that medicine was a systematic discipline which should be based on natural philosophy. However the foreign, Boerhaavian system had been rejected by all of them in favour of idiosyncratic medical systems which had many features in common with each other. Surgery, pathological anatomy, nosology, nosography, and a nervous physiology had all become more prominent in the teaching. Scepticism as the predominant attitude to medical knowledge. Besides relating these elements to intellectual changes in European medicine generally, I have tried to shov how they were shaped by particular local considerations. Further I also attempt to display how specific systematic differences, such as that between John Gregory and William Cullen, indicate differing allegiances to different Scottish philosophical and social groups.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Edinburgh Medical School 1726-1776 History Philosophy Religion