Fleck, Anatomical Drawings and Early Modern History


  • Ilana Lowy Research Center Medicine Science Health and Society (CNRS – INSERM – EHESS) Paris


Early Modern Medicine, Ludwik Fleck , Anatomical Drawings, Sexuation


 In 2003, the historian of medicine Michael Stolberg, contested the argument – developed by Thomas Laqueur and Londa Schiebinger – that in the XVIII century, anatomists shifted from a one-sex to a two-sexes model. Laqueur and Schiebinger linked the new focus on anatomical differences between the sexes to the rise of egalitarian aspirations during the Enlightenment, and a consecutive need to ground male domination in invariable “laws of nature”. Stolberg claimed that the shift to the two sexes model occurred in the early modern period, and was mainly motivated by developments within medicine. This article examines the 2003 debate on the origin of “two sexes” model in the light of a 1939 controversy that opposed the historian of medicine Tadeusz Bilikiewicz, who advocated a focus on a “spirit” of an earlier epoch, and the pioneer of sociology of science Ludwik Fleck, who promoted the study of the "thought styles" of specific scientific communities.