Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
AYRES, José Ricardo de C. M.. Historical and philosophical bases for a criticism of epidemiology. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1993, vol.27, n.2, pp. 135-144. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89101993000200010.
The historical and philosophical foundations of epidemiology are examined for the purpose of establishing objective bounds for a reflexive analysis as to the insertion of this science into today's health practices as a whole. With this in view, an epistemological approach, founded upon the Frankfurt School's criticism of modern rationality and some theoretical and methodological contributions from French School of historical epistemology, is attempted. Historical information was obtained from current specialized literature. The abstract notion of "environment" in the theoretical translation of "health's public space" is emphasized as the contradictory basis for the instrumental shaping of epidemiological knowledge. This abstract notion of environment has opened up increasing possibilities of knowledge of and practical intervention in sanitary phenomena, but has simultaneously restricted the objectivation of the properly public character of these phenomena.
Keywords : Epidemiology [history]; Epidemiologic methods; Philosophy; Social medicine.