Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 27 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that ‘substantial progress derives from informal reasoning and qualitative insights’. It shows the role played by causal process observations (CPOs), and qualitative reasoning more generally, in a series of well-known episodes drawn from the history of medicine. Edward Jenner published twenty-three case studies to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of ‘vaccination’. Ignac Semmelweis discovered the cause of puerperal fever. John Snow revealed that cholera was a water-borne infectious disease, which could be prevented by cleaning up the water supply. Christiaan Eijkman's research plan was to use Koch's methods, and show that beriberi was an infectious disease. Joseph Goldberger believed that pellagra was a deficiency disease. Frederick McKay and his connection with fluoridation, and the discovery of Alexander Fleming to penicillin, are discussed. In addition, the breakthrough of German measles by Norman Gregg is reported. Finally, Arthur Herbst offers the association between diethylstibestrol and adenocarcinoma of the vagina.

Keywords: qualitative reasoning, causal process observations, Edward Jenner, vaccination, Ignac Semmelweis, puerperal fever, John Snow, cholera, Christiaan Eijkman, beriberi

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.