1902 Encyclopedia > Medicine > Early Part of the 19th Century

(Part 35)

Early Part of the 19th Century

It is not possible to carry the history of medicine, in a sketch such as this, beyond the early years of the 19th century, both because the mass of details becomes so large as to require more minute treatment, and because it is difficult as we approach our own times to preserve the necessary historical perspective. It was however, in this period that what we regard as the modern school of medicine was formed, and took the shape which it has preserved to our own days. The characteristic of the modern school is the adoption in medicine of the methods of research of physical science, and the gradually declining importance attached to theory and abstract reasoning, -- hypotheses, though not neglected, being used as means of research rather than as ultimate conclusions. Its method may therefore be called the positive method, or that of rational empiricism. The growth of the new school was first seen in two European countries, in France and England, and must be separately followed in the two. Germany entered the field later.

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