This article discusses possible dialogues between medical history and the history of concepts, suggesting that a “socio-conceptual-moral” history of medicine offers insightful elements for the historical analysis of conceptual change. Drawing mainly from Reinhart Koselleck’s Begriffsgeschichte and Ludwik Fleck’s theory of knowledge, I focus on three points of the “socio-conceptual-moral” perspective: the approach to medical statements as part of a semantic field, the interaction between a formulated concept and its practice, and negotiations about the meanings of medical concepts between different social arenas. I take the history of cancer prevention in Brazil as a case study to discuss these three aspects and emphasize the situated character of conceptual change. The article analyzes the period between the 1960s and the 1990s when substantial changes in the conceptual framework of cancer prevention confronted continuities in public health and medicine practices, policies, and institutions.
A Socio-Conceptual-Moral History of Medical Concepts
Luiz Alves Araújo Neto
Michael Boyden, Ali Basirat, and Karl Berglund
This article offers an exploratory quantitative analysis of the conceptual career of climate in US English over the period 1800–2010. Our aim is to qualify two, closely related arguments circulating in Environmental Humanities scholarship regarding the concept’s history, namely that we only started to think of climate as a global entity aft er the introduction of general circulation models during the final quarter of the twentieth century, and, second, that climatic change only became an issue of environmental concern once scientists began to approach climate as a global model. While we do not dispute that the computer revolution resulted in a significantly new understanding of climate, our analysis points to a longer process of singularization and growing abstraction starting in the early nineteenth century that might help to nuance and deepen insights developed in environmental history.
Its Russian Sediments and Its Updating in Latin America in Historical-Conceptual Key
Claudio Sergio Ingerflom
The article discusses the dominant approaches to populism and, in particular, the origins of the term and the practice of the Russian movement that embodied it. From the sources, it reconstructs the genesis and logic of the concept in a historical-conceptual perspective and the journey of the concept from Russia through China to Latin America. The legitimacy of Russian populism emerges from the relationship between the concept and factual history. In the Russian historical structure (end of the eighteenth century—first decades of the twentieth century), elements such as the preponderance of the concept of “people” over that of “class,” the rejection of politics, society conceived as a confrontation between the people and a tiny minority, and others that have been updated, without being identical, in today’s world, can be observed. Taking into account this updating reveals the historicity of the concept and its current legitimacy.
Historical Epistemology and Logical Empiricism
Austrian philosopher Heinrich Gomperz attempted to reconcile the Vienna Circle’s project of a unified science with the autonomy of historical knowledge. This article situates him in the context of the ongoing reassessment of the Vienna Circle in the history of philosophy. It argues that Gomperz’s synthesis of positivism with historicity was a response to difficulties raised by Rudolf Carnap and Otto von Neurath. Gomperz achieved his reconciliation via a theory of language and action that had affinities with both neo-Kantian and pragmatist thought, combining Dilthey’s hermeneutics with Carnap’s requirements for scientific propositions.
The Janus Face of Metaphor; A European Conceptual History of Internationalism; Language, Time, and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic
Hannes Bajohr, Martin Kristoffer Hamre, and Francisco A. Ortega
Andrew Hines, Metaphor in European Philosophy after Nietzsche: An Intellectual History (Cambridge: Legenda, 2020), 209 pp.
Pasi Ihalainen and Antero Holmila, eds., Nationalism and Internationalism Intertwined: A European History of Concepts (New York: Berghahn Books, 2022), 364 pp.
Javier Fernández Sebastián, Historia conceptual en el Atlántico Ibérico: Lenguajes, tiempos, revoluciones [Conceptual history in the Iberian Atlantic: Languages, temporalities, revolutions] (Madrid: FCE, 2021), 571 pp.
A Collocation Analysis of Conceptual Changes in News Discourse, 1950–2010
Anne Helene Kveim Lie, Lars G. Johnsen, Helge Jordheim, and Espen Ytreberg
The emergence of key concepts in Reinhart Koselleck’s sense has been much discussed in conceptual history, but mainly for the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The article documents a post–World War II emergence of the concept of health, from relative anonymity to becoming a key concept, comparable to concepts such as politics, democracy, and culture. While previous research has emphasized conceptual mobility, this article focuses on conceptual aggregation, where the concept of health assembles and assimilates meanings, becoming essential to discourse. This is explained with reference to the development of the welfare state and the political use of a positive, expanded health concept. The article utilizes a collocation analysis of Norwegian digitized newspapers 1950–2010, culled from the uniquely extensive database of the Norwegian National Library.
Physical and Astronomical Notions within French and Polish Fourierism
Piotr Kuligowski and Quentin Schwanck
This article investigates the role of physical and astronomical notions in the formation process of transnational political ideologies. It does so by focusing on the striking example of nineteenth-century early socialist movements, particularly Fourierism. Indeed, Fourier's bold cosmogony enabled him to connect many fields of knowledge, and soon became a powerful vehicle for his ideas on the international scale. The article likewise analyses the ideological process through which Fourierist astronomical conceptions were adopted by foreign socialists, focusing on examples of Polish thinkers such as Jan Czyński and Stanisław Bratkowski who, in drawing on Fourierist ideas and usage of scientific terms, tried to embed his vocabulary in the ongoing nineteenth-century debates about Polish history and, more generally, the burning issue of the independence of the Polish state. Our comparative analysis highlights the contextual influences which contributed to re-shaping such ideas within a new absorbing context.
A Proposal for Analytical Categories in the Study of Human Thought
The article argues that all disciplines examining human thought could use certain shared analytical categories. This would not mean eradicating all differences between various approaches such as intellectual history and discourse analysis, but acknowledging that they are examining partly the same basic entities. The article argues that ideational entities in human thought could be understood as concepts, beliefs, and their constellations. The article discusses the views of scholars who have theorized similar categories and shows how these can be studied through historical language use. Shared analytical categories would enhance interdisciplinary dialogue between scholars of human thought and allow more rigorous debates on issues that truly divide different disciplines, such as the explanatory values of human agency and structures.
Innovation is a key concept of modernity. It acquired its lettres de noblesse in the twentieth century, thanks to or because of economics and technology. However, for centuries the concept was essentially pejorative. How can we explain this connotation? This article suggests that one of the crucial moments is the Reformation. Using official documents of the time, the article studies the vocabulary of the English Reformation and documents the meanings and the uses made of innovation. The article suggests that innovation served two functions or purposes: an injunction (not to innovate) and an accusation of non-conformity. Thereafter, innovation became a linguistic tool of polemic.
East German sinologists organized an international conference on East Asian studies in Leipzig in October 1955, bringing together scholars from most communist states and several scholars from Western Europe. This conference served to unite sinologists from both the Communist Bloc and West Germany in the early Cold War era. Since the Chinese delegation was particularly honored, this article suggests that China expanded its political influence in East Europe after the Korean War and the death of Stalin, which prompted a tension within the international communist community, especially between China and the Soviet Union. Moreover, this conference demonstrated a strong “modern turn” in the rising field of Asian studies, sinology in particular, because of the rise of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s.