François Delaporte

François Delaporte is a Research Associate at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Medicale in Paris. He is the author of Disease and Civilization and The History of Yellow Fever.

  • A Vital Rationalist

    A Vital Rationalist

    Selected Writings from Georges Canguilhem

    Georges Canguilhem and François Delaporte

    Georges Canguilhem is one of France's foremost historians of science. Trained as a medical doctor as well as a philosopher, he combined these practices to demonstrate to philosophers that there could be no epistemology without concrete study of the actual development of the sciences and to historians that there could be no worthwhile history of science without a philosophical understanding of the conceptual basis of all knowledge. A Vital Rationalist brings together for the first time a selection of Canguilhem's most important writings, including excerpts from previously unpublished manuscripts and a critical bibliography by Camille Limoges. Organized around the major themes and problems that have preoccupied Canguilhem throughout his intellectual career, the collection allows readers, whether familiar or unfamiliar with Canguilhem's work, access to a vast array of conceptual and concrete meditations on epistemology, methodology, science, and history. Canguilhem is a demanding writer, but Delaporte succeeds in marking out the main lines of his thought with unrivaled clarity; readers will come away with a heightened understanding of the complex and crucial place he holds in French intellectual history.

    • Hardcover $28.95 £25.00
    • Paperback $28.95 £25.00
  • The History of Yellow Fever

    An Essay on the Birth of Tropical Medicine

    François Delaporte

    François Delaporte's History of Yellow Fever is a detective story whose protagonist is an idea rather than a person. Most importantly, while tracing this fascinating story, it demonstrates the practical value of an epistemological approach to the history of science. By casting the story of the conquest of yellow fever in an entirely new light, Delaporte is also able to elucidate the political uses to which that story has been put, in both Cuba and the United States. The mystery of yellow fever was unraveled in 1900 a momentous event that not only ensured the eradication of this scourge but pointed the way to the birth of a science of tropical medicine. But how was the mystery unraveled? There are two mutually antagonistic accounts, epitomized many years later in two nationalistic paintings: a Cuban painting showing Dr. Carlos Finlay presenting to the American Commission his theory that the Culex mosquito is the carrier of the yellow fever germ, and an American painting of Dr. Walter Reed's experimental proof of the manner of transmission. Delaporte shows both pictures to be false because they neglect important historical antecedents and connectives. What occurred in 1900 that is worth our attention, he observes, is not a discovery that must be credited to some national hero, but an epistemological shift, built on a foundation of much previous work and inference, that allowed scientists to conceive of the mosquito as a vector for the transmission of disease.

    François Delaporte is a Research Associate at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche médicale in Paris. He has written about the origins of the science of botany in Nature's Second Kingdom and about the origins of public health in Disease and Civilization.

    • Hardcover $29.95
  • Disease and Civilization

    Disease and Civilization

    The Cholera in Paris, 1832

    François Delaporte

    Disease and Civilization explores the scientific and political ramifications of the great cholera epidemic of 1832, showing how its course and its conceptualization were affected by the social power relations of the time. The epidemic which claimed the lives of 18,000 people in Paris alone, was a watershed in the history of medicine: In France, it shook the complacency of a medical establishment that thought it had the means to prevent any onslaught and led to a revolution in the concept of public health.

    • Hardcover
    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00