Return to blog

What is medicine?

If the worldview of a society governs what we think of as medicine what is the worldview that informed the development of biomedicine and how does this differ from Irish indigenous medicine? 
 Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon were two of the most influential scholars whose thought influenced the development of modern medicine. This was because they considered nothing to be true unless it could be objectively proven. This need for certainty, immediately blew any subjective experience such as fear, joy, intuition and dreams beyond the realm of  the new science.

What is medicine?

I thought about this question recently as I watched the 'Black Lives Matter' protests in the US.  The question came to mind because I realised that how we see the world is dominated by the culture in which we live, or more importantly, by the dominant culture within a country.  Our perception of medicine is  derived from our social values and beliefs. 
If we examine what medicine is, we can see that it is made up of three components,  ill health, diagnosis, and treatment. No matter where we are in the world, be it the depths of the Amazon,, the bronx in New York or a  village in the Turkana, these three components remain.  
The differences come in the diagnosis of the illness and its treatment. Both of these are governed by the knowledge of the person diagnosing and treating  and his/her insights into the illness. This knowledge is governed by the worldview / cosmology of the society to which he/she belongs.