Curing the Passions: Construction of the Physician Persona in the Late Eighteenth Century

By Guillermo de Eugenio Perez.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The aim of this article is to discuss some features of the physician’s figure in the European context in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Thus, two documents have been chosen to be analyzed. They are dissertations dealing on the influence and treatment of passions as phenomena related to illness. Besides, their authors (Clément-Joseph Tissot and William Falconer) use their discourses to present themselves as bearers of a key ethical function, the emotional regulation of (sick) people. The hypothesis sustained in this article claims that these therapeutic practices that unfold the power of the physician beyond the domain of the body reaching moral life have been a crucial element for the understanding of the physician’s scientific persona as outcome of a genealogical process. This process implies a set of medical theories about the functioning of the body and the techniques of a scientific beholder, on one side, and, on the other, the constitution of a certain kind of authority grounded on this knowledge and on the growing of a certain kind of intimacy between physician and patient.

Keywords: Physician, Passions, Intimacy, Authority, Ethics

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.57-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 393.979KB).

Dr. Guillermo de Eugenio Perez

Lecturer, Department of Humanities: Philosophy, Language and Literature, Carlos III University (Madrid), Madrid, Spain

Guillermo de Eugenio Pérez is a lecturer in History of Science and History of Philosophy at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. He did his PhD in the faculty of Humanities: Philosophy and Literature, and his thesis defense (2011) was on the cultural presentation of the self in public spaces in 18th century. It was an enquiry on the ethical and aesthetic features of concepts such as mask, cosmetic or decorum. He has made research stays at renowned European institutions, the Centre Edgar Morin (EHESS) at Paris, as well as the Max Planck Institute for History of Science at Berlin. He is also a member of the I+D Project “Crossroads of Subjectivity: Memory, Experience and Imagination”, a group that includes North American and Spanish researchers. He has published several articles and book chapters; some of these titles are “Wax Doll and the Dream of Asepsis”, “The Body as Artifact” and “An Ethical Defence of Theatricallity: Rousseau or Rameau’s Nephew”.