Two metaphors from physical medicine

Neil Pickering

in The Metaphor of Mental Illness

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780198530886
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754395 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Two metaphors from physical medicine

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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.

Chapter.  8268 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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