Polish School of Philosophy of Medicine - Between the Philosophy of Science and Clinical Practice
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The Polish school of the philosophy of medicine was developed in the second half of the 19th century. It was created as an interpretative school outside of the structure of universities and it focused physicians and philosophers with original and innovative methodological opinions who, in the situation in which Polish land was divided between three neighbouring countries (Russia, Prussia and Austria), could not find employment in university medical faculties. They earned their living by means of free medical practice and they developed their scientific interests within Polish scientific associations as well as in the columns of medical and cultural magazines, such as „Krytyka Lekarska” (Physician's Review). Only when Poland recovered independence in 1918 did some physician-philosophers from this group receive academic positions and they made - as for example Prof. Władysław Szumowski and Prof. Tadeusz Bilikiewicz – permanent contributions to the development of the Polish standard of academic education in the area of the history and philosophy of medicine. Others, such as Prof. Ludwik Fleck, although they had published their most important works already in the 30s of the 20th century, received academic positions only after the 2nd World War. It was Ludwik Fleck who was the most well known in the world – as an inspirer of T.S. Kuhn’s concept – physician-philosopher, representative of the third generation of the Polish school of the philosophy of medicine. The aim of this paper is to present the most important persons and achievements of this school, and in this context a profile and the output of Prof. Ludwik Fleck.