Pathologies and the Healing of the soul: medical terms as metaphors in philosophy

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25 (4):579-586 (2022)
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This paper critically examines the metaphorical use of medical terms in philosophy. Three examples selected from distinct philosophical contexts demonstrate that such terms have been employed as metaphors both to describe the practice of philosophising and historically to diagnose philosophical positions. The selected examples are (i) the title of Avicenna’s main philosophical work, The Book of Healing, (ii) the criticism of medical metaphors in Enlightenment philosophy, and (iii) recent historical diagnoses in philosophy. The underlying epistemological assumptions of all three contexts are reconstructed to critically analyse the medical metaphors. Through this tripartite synopsis, I arrive at a normative conclusions medical metaphors, such as the “healing of the soul” or “pathology of reason”, do not stand up to the critique of Enlightenment and are obsolete against the theoretical background of my reference texts.



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Metaphors in medicine.Henk ten Have & Bert Gordijn - 2022 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25 (4):577-578.

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