In these essays, Andrew Cunningham is concerned with issues of identity - what was the identity of topics, disciplines, arguments, diseases in the past, and whether they are identical with (more usually, how they are not identical with) topics, disciplines, arguments or diseases in the present. Historians usually tend to assume such continuous identities of present attitudes and activities with past ones, and rarely question them; the contention here is that this gives us a false image of the very things in the past that we went to look for.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: 'We will not anticipate the past, our retrospection will now be all to the future'; Part 1 Natural Philosophy/Science Identity Issues: Getting the game right: some plain words on the identity and invention of science; How the Principia got its name; Decentering the 'big picture': The Origins of Modern Science and the modern origins of science (with Perry Williams). Part 2 The Identity of 'Medieval Science': Science and religion in the 13th century revisited: the making of St Francis the proto-ecologist, part 1: creature not nature; Science and religion in the 13th century revisited: the making of St Francis the proto-ecologist, part 2: nature not creature. Part 3 The Identity of Particular Investigative Projects: Aristotle's animal books: ethology, biology, anatomy, or philosophy?; Paracelsus fat and thin: thoughts on reputations and realities; Thomas Sydenham: epidemics, experiment and the 'good old cause'. Part 4 Disease Identity: Transforming plague: the laboratory and the identity of infectious disease; Identifying disease in the past: cutting the Gordian Knot; Index.
'As any scholar in the History of Science or Medicine will already know, Cunningham's work is subtle, programmatic, and immensely important for how we navigate and situate our thinking in relation to historical moments, actors and activities.' Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory