Fellow in Focus: “Trust Me!” The Problem of Insincerity in Early Modern Medicine

Mark Waddell, Michigan State University.

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 6:00pm

Chemical Heritage Foundation (Philadelphia, PA)

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Trust and credibility are the cornerstones of the modern, collaborative model of science we depend upon today. To understand the foundations of that model, historians have looked back to the Scientific Revolution of the early modern period, when many of the methods and practices of modern science and medicine first emerged. We generally take past thinkers at their word—that is, we trust they actually believed the things they wrote and said—but if we dig deeply enough, we start to find cases of insincerity and even outright fraud.
In this talk Mark Waddell will examine the strange medical remedy known as the weapon salve, or the powder of sympathy, and use its contentious history to explore how insincerity, credibility, and trust were interwoven at the dawn of modern science and medicine.