Article ID: CBB833961314

La controversia sulla Lehre di Semmelweis: Un case-study in sociologia delle controversie scientifiche (2021)


The paper aims at reconstructing the controversy over Semmelweis’ theory on the aetiology and prophylaxis of childbed fever. We also highlight some sociological and epistemological aspects of this controversy. From a sociological point of view, the controversy shows a negative feedback phenomenon: because of how the context of the controversy is made, actions performed by agents belonging to one and the same pole may have the unwanted effect of weakening the pole itself. As concerns the epistemological level, we consider three “errors” that some authors ascribe to Semmelweis, and argue that their evaluation is not independent from the theoretical context underlying the evaluation. Finally, we link the results of our analysis with some theories in the sociology of scientific controversies.

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Authors & Contributors
Roberton, J.
White, Kevin
Nuland, Sherwin B.
Doby, T.
Gradmann, Christoph
Arlidge, J. T.
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Perspectives on Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Science as Culture
Social History of Medicine
W. W. Norton & Co.
Nya Doxa
Cambridge University Press
University of California, Los Angeles
Johns Hopkins University
Disease and diseases
Medicine and society
Public health
Controversies and disputes
Semmelweis, Ignaz Philipp
Ramazzini, Bernardino
Cohn, Ferdinand Julius
Hallier, Ernst
Maclean, Charles,
Hahnemann, Christian Friedrich Samuel
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century
17th century
20th century, early
Meiji period (Japan, 1868-1910)
Great Britain

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