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The role of ideas in knowledge and life sciences



The role of ideas in knowledge and life sciences



Revista de Investigacion Clinica; Organo del Hospital de Enfermedades de la Nutricion 66(2): 181-193



In this paper about the role of ideas within knowledge, the importance of identifying theoretical problems beyond empirical ones (scientific facts) are emphasized. Theoretical problems arise when we reflect upon what underlies scientific discourse: a) Paradigms that rule logical thought and way of understanding. b) Inveterate beliefs and convictions. c) Universally accepted theories considered the objective reality. The paradigm proposed by E. Morin of disjunction, reduction, simplification and exclusion (DRSE) is discussed, as well as its effects in the splitting of humanistic culture from science and the predominance of analytical tradition in exclusion of the synthetic one in scientific research. The premises of neopositivism that rule scientific work are criticized and alternatives that recognize the importance of explicative ideas are proposed. By arguing that intellectual possibilities depend on ideas, it is highlighted the approaching quality of every theory and its potential contributions: comprehension, explication, understanding and description. The DRSE paradigm underlines mechanism which is the prevailing approach to understand living beings in both health and illness (the optimized machine and the broken down one), and the mechanist causality (MC) used to identify causes of disease and its natural history. The attributes of MC are described, demonstrating its limitations to understand human life and its vicissitudes. Alternative theories to understand both health and disease such as: cultural history of disease, the environment interiorization and anticipation theory and the contextual causality, are introduced and discussed briefly. The text concludes with the importance of recognizing theoretical problems along the way of knowledge about life, health and disease.

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