2019 April 2, h 10.30, Aula Enzo Paci
University of Milan, Dept. Of Philosophy, via Festa del Perdono 7, 20122 Milano
Cristina Chimisso (Open University)
Normal: Georges Canguilhem on medicine and the individual
Abstract. The boundary between what is considered normal and what is considered pathological is not stable, and in some cases is highly controversial. Is there a right way of drawing this distinction? And who should decide whether a state is normal or pathological? The philosopher Georges Canguilhem (1904-1995) provided original answers to these questions. I shall discuss them, and argue that they can still play an important role in our current debates. At the same time, I shall indicate some of their limitations.
The traditional purpose of epistemology as a branch of philosophy is the investigation and clarification of the fundamental structures of knowledge, e.g. how we gain (new) knowledge and how it changes, if it is justified or not, if different kinds of knowledge exist and in what they consist. With special reference to scientific knowledge, historical epistemology tries to understand such structures by situating their “crystallization” as scientific theories and practices in the contexts (historical, social, political, economic, artistic, material, etc.) in which they emerge, develop, transform or disappear.
This seminar aims at comparing and contrasting different approaches to historical epistemology and problems related to it. A variety of topics will be addressed, amongst others: the conditions for the emergence of a concept; the birth of theoretical ideas from practical knowledge; the formation and influence of standards and values in the scientific practice; the renewal of themes, methods and trends in the history of science; the role of instruments and objects in science making, etc.