The idea of reducing pathology to biology has an extensive history, and the initial forms of the enterprise were unsuccessful. This article discusses the philosophical literature surrounding the notion of reduction in the sciences in general and of biology in particular; reviews several 19th-century programs that promoted the reduction of medicine to other biological disciplines; and examines the post-war origins of the notion of biomedicine. It shows how biology and medicine tend to interact in the constitution of new biomedical knowledge and how the notion of a pathological process resulting in a lesion remains central to the understanding of disease. The article proposes that while strict reduction has yet to be realized, one can speak of a continuing and successful realignment of biology and pathology since the Second World War.


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pp. 357-371
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