Episode 26: Jason Hirsch on the History and Philosophy of Medicine

Jason Hirsch is pursuing a Masters’ degree in Anthropology focusing on medical anthropology at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada. He talks about the roots of mainstream, ‘scientific’ medicine in industrial capitalism, and differentiates our mainstream, reductionist approach to human health from the more holistic, broad-pattern approaches rising to challenging its ideological supremacy.

Episode Outline

  • How mainstream ‘scientific’ medicine emerged from among many medical approaches to become the dominant approach
  • Industrial capitalism meets ‘scientific’, reductionist medicine: a match made in heaven
  • The role of the Carnegies and Rockefellers in the institutionalization of mainstream medicine
  • Focused, reductionist approaches to medicine versus holistic, broad-pattern approaches to medicine
  • How both reductionist approaches and holistic approaches have value
  • Connection between reduction of infectious disease in the late 19th and early 20th century and enhanced sanitation and public hygeine
  • The role of ideological supremacy in mainstream medicine
  • How clinical trials eliminate the context of an individual patient
  • The political ramifications of our medical worldview
  • The contributions of chronic stress from social factors influences public health

Links & Resources


  1. Annie McCleary October 20, 2020 at 10:10

    Thank you Eric and Jason for a comprehensive perspective on the history of health care. Jason is brilliant at connecting the dots. Articulate and highly recommended.

    1. Eric Garza October 23, 2020 at 06:47

      Thanks for the kind words!