The conclusion points out that although many British authors before 1730 entertained ideas about contagion, it remained an unorthodox idea with roots in a suspect Helmontian philosophy. The infrastructure necessary to investigate, sustain, and institutionalize contagionism, or to deploy it systematically as an aid in conceptualizing, classifying, and investigating acute diseases, did not exist. Only after the rise of Scottish medical education at midcentury would a research community possess the numbers, status, intellectual background, and geographic reach to adopt contagionism as a shared ideology.
KeywordsEpidemic Disease Spontaneous Generation Natural Philosopher Smallpox Inoculation Early Eighteenth Century
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