Article ID: CBB673499373

Advocating Inoculation in the Eighteenth Century: Exemplarity and Quantification (2016)


Smallpox inoculation was introduced in Europe in the early eighteenth century and has been considered the first mass treatment of disease based on practical use of probability calculations and mathematical tools of computation. The article argues that these new approaches were deeply entangled with other rationalities, most emphatically that of exemplarity. Changes in inoculation methods around mid-century gradually changed the conceptualization of disease, seeing all cases as fundamentally equal, and thus making it more relevant to count them. Arithmetic changed the ways of thinking about smallpox epidemics, but new ways of conceptualizing disease were vital to making it a matter of arithmetic at all. The article investigates what happened when numbers and figures were introduced into medical matters: Who did the figures really concern, and what types of argument were they fitted into? How were numbers transformed into metaphors, and how did quantitative argument work together with arguments from exemplarity?

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Thesis Meyer, Victoria Nicole; (2010)
Divining the Pox: The Controversy over Smallpox Inoculation in Eighteenth-Century France (/isis/citation/CBB001567185/) unapi

Article Eriksen, Anne; (2013)
Cure or Protection? the Meaning of Smallpox Inoculation, ca. 1750--1775 (/isis/citation/CBB001320601/) unapi

Thesis Thomas Hurford, Christianna Elrene; (2010)
“In His Arm the Scar”: Medicine, Race, and the Social Implications of the 1721 Inoculation Controversy on Boston (/isis/citation/CBB001567177/) unapi

Book Boylston, Arthur William; (2012)
Defying Providence: Smallpox and the Forgotten 18th-Century Medical Revolution (/isis/citation/CBB001211555/) unapi

Book Michael J. Bennett; (2020)
The War Against Smallpox: Edward Jenner and the Global Spread of Vaccination (/isis/citation/CBB765954016/) unapi

Article Mario Tanga; Giacomo Gelati; (2016)
Quando il pharmacon è la “materia velenosa” da somministrare a chi è ancora sano (/isis/citation/CBB867109848/) unapi

Book Andrew M. Wehrman; (2022)
The Contagion of Liberty: The Politics of Smallpox in the American Revolution (/isis/citation/CBB236021862/) unapi

Book Jennifer D. Penschow; (2021)
Battling Smallpox before Vaccination: Inoculation in Eighteenth-Century Germany (/isis/citation/CBB768586402/) unapi

Book Weightman, Gavin; (2020)
The Great Inoculator: The Untold Story of Daniel Sutton and his Medical Revolution (/isis/citation/CBB059271636/) unapi

Book Chiara Beneduce; Denise Vincenti; (2018)
Oeconomia Corporis: The Body’s Normal and Pathological Constitution at the Intersection of Philosophy and Medicine (/isis/citation/CBB424485770/) unapi

Article Glomski, Matthew; Ohanian, Edward; (2012)
Eradicating a Disease: Lessons from Mathematical Epidemiology (/isis/citation/CBB001320028/) unapi

Book Campbell, Judy; (2002)
Invisible Invaders: Smallpox and Other Diseases in Aboriginal Australia, 1780--1880 (/isis/citation/CBB000301828/) unapi

Article Vaughan, M; (2000)
Slavery, smallpox, and revolution: 1792 in Île de France (Mauritius) (/isis/citation/CBB000111640/) unapi

Book Shuttleton, David E.; (2007)
Smallpox and the Literary Imagination 1660--1820 (/isis/citation/CBB000930590/) unapi

Book Jones, Greta; Malcolm, Elizabeth; (1999)
Medicine, disease, and the State in Ireland, 1650-1940 (/isis/citation/CBB000110599/) unapi

Chapter Shuttleton, David; (2003)
A Culture of Disfigurement: Imagining Smallpox in the Long Eighteenth Century (/isis/citation/CBB000501993/) unapi

Book Fenn, Elizabeth A.; (2001)
Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775--82 (/isis/citation/CBB000101907/) unapi

Thesis Lopez Denis, Adrian; (2007)
Disease and Society in Colonial Cuba, 1790--1840 (/isis/citation/CBB001561294/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Gallay, Alan
Jones, Greta
Malcolm, Elizabeth
Shuttleton, David E.
Fenn, Elizabeth A.
Kelly, James G.
Social History of Medicine
British Journal for the History of Science
College Mathematics Journal
Medical History
Atti e Memorie, Rivista di Storia della Farmacia
Cambridge University Press
Hill & Wang
International Specialized Book Services
Melbourne University Press
University of Chicago Press
Disease and diseases
Vaccines; vaccination
Public health
Wilde, Robert Willis
Montagu, Mary Wortley, Lady
Dryden, John
Bernoulli, Daniel
Sutton, Daniel
Jenner, Edward
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
17th century
Early modern
20th century, early
United States
Great Britain
Royal Belfast Academical Institution
Catholic University of Ireland (Dublin)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment