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“What They Think of the Causes of So Much Suffering”: S. Weir Mitchell, John Kearsley Mitchell, and Ideas about Phantom Limb Pain in Late 19th c. America

Goldberg, Daniel (2016) “What They Think of the Causes of So Much Suffering”: S. Weir Mitchell, John Kearsley Mitchell, and Ideas about Phantom Limb Pain in Late 19th c. America. Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, 8 (1). pp. 27-54. ISSN 1913-0465

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Abstract

This paper analyzes S. Weir Mitchell and his son John Kearsley Mitchell’s views on phantom limb pain in late 19th c. America. Drawing on a variety of primary sources including journal articles, letters, and treatises, the paper pioneers analysis of a cache of surveys sent out by the Mitchells that contain amputee Civil War veterans’ own narratives of phantom limb pain. The paper utilizes an approach drawn from the history of ideas, documenting how changing models of medicine and objectivity help explain the Mitchells’s attitudes, practices, and beliefs regarding the enigma of phantom limb pain as experienced by their patients. The paper also assesses concerns over malingering, pain, authenticity, and deception through these intellectual frameworks of somaticism and mechanical objectivity. The paper concludes that much of relevance to the ways in which the Mitchells and other late 19th c. neurologists regarded and treated their patients’ pain is explicable in terms of the larger intellectual frameworks that structured these healers’ ideas about lesionless pain.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Goldberg, Daniel
Keywords: Scientific Realism; Epistemic Issues; Epistemology of Science
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Jordan Miller
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2021 13:05
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 13:05
Item ID: 17843
Journal or Publication Title: Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science
Publisher: The University of Toronto
Official URL: https://spontaneousgenerations.library.utoronto.ca...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.4245/sponge.v8i1.20844
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 17 June 2016
Page Range: pp. 27-54
Volume: 8
Number: 1
ISSN: 1913-0465
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17843

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