World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies
World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies

2021, Vol. 12, No. 1. - go to content...

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Solodoukhina D.P. [Historical review of the concept of health and disease] World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies, 2021, Vol. 12, No. 1. Available at: (in Russian).

Historical review of the concept of health and disease

Solodoukhina Dina Pavlovna
«Kursk state medical university» Ministry of health of the Russian Federation, Kursk, Russia
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Abstract. The article is devoted to historical review of important conceptual terms of health and disease from the point of medicine, philosophy, theology and sociology. The purpose of the study is to detect trends in development of theoretical views of physicians and scientists on health and disease in close relationship with socio-cultural factors and peculiarities of medical practice in different periods of human civilization history.

The author examines the most significant stages of health ideas formation in history starting from primitive societies till modern time. The special attention is paid to ancient oriental and antique theories and their transformation in the Renaissance and the Modern Era. The article reviews disease interpretations given by Hippocrates, Galen, Plato, Seneca, Paracelsus, Descartes, Russo, Peter Frank. Pathological theories formulated by physicians of the 19th century like John Brown, Rudolf Virchow, Viktor von Weizsacker, are also presented. Application of the social theory for explanation of the disease and patient’s sick role is described on the base of classic works of T. Parsons. Analysis of the contemporary situation showed that globalization of public health problems led to even broader health and disease concepts formulation. Nowadays tolerance of the society to the disabled and handicapped as well as acceptance of variation of norms by the public enable to improve adaptation of people with serious health problems to active life and social environment. Categories of health and disease developed and changed throughout history, and today in the 21st century they became even more interrelated because of increased chronic pathology and occurrence of multiple risk factors in life styles. The author indicates at a key role of philosophical views and social morality of every historical epoch that influenced theoretical understanding of the studied concepts and medical practice.

Keywords: health; disease; history of medicine; historical periods; philosophical views

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ISSN 2542-0577 (Online)

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