Interdisciplinary Learning Courses

Medical and scientific milestones of mankind

Medical and scientific milestones of mankind Medical and scientific milestones of mankind
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Interdisciplinary Learning CoursesMedical and scientific milestones of mankind

Mankind has deliberately forgotten the purpose of medicine by dismissing its history

Illness, pain, suffering and death are phenomena that have accompanied us since our origins. Since their appearance, mankind has tried by all means to know its causes, practice therapeutic procedures and transmit the knowledge and skills that were most successful in defeating that evil.
On this long journey, in which we are still immersed, enormous advances have been made in going from a magical mentality to a rational and scientific mentality. Also, with regard to the teaching and learning of medicine, and the creation of a care network that has evolved from charity to the universalization of health care.

This course presents the student an overview of the evolution of medicine and delves into its future. For this, the student will learn that medicine is at the same time art and science. That its progress is probably not linear, if we take into account its evolution and impact on society together, and not just the scientific and technological advances that have been applied to its field. And, finally, that the practice of medicine carries a moral responsibility that cannot be avoided or forgotten.

Learning Objectives

  • Know the different conceptions about the origin or cause of illness in humans.
  • Identify the personalities that have participated in the development of medicine.
  • Remember therapeutic limits of certain incurable diseases.
  • Describe the way in which medical practice was developed.
  • Identify some remedies and therapeutic procedures and the moral problems derived from their use.
  • Know the criticism and praise that health professionals have received.
  • Reflect on the hyper-technical medicine of the future and its impact on society.
  • Promote reflection on the past, present and future of medical practice.

Contents of the Subject

Medical and scientific milestones of mankind

  • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Demons, foreign bodies, soul loss, hostile forces, and sin
    • 3. Humors, mechanical parts, fermentations and much more...
    • 4. Gods, centaurs and human beings against pain, suffering and death?
    • 5. From charity to universal healthcare
    • 6. The public square, the sick house, the private office and the hospital
    • 7. Wars, epidemics and pandemics
    • 8. Diet, drugs and the scalpel
    • 9. Modern technology
    • 10. Dangerous, useless and painful therapeutic procedures
    • 11. Saviors of bodies and souls, ruffians and impostors
    • 12. Health engineers, diagnostic and therapeutic technology and robotic assistance
    • 13. Class presentation
    • 14. Class presentation
    • 15. Class presentation


José Miguel Hernández Mansilla Professor of Medical and scientific milestones of mankind

José Miguel Hernández Mansilla

He has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy (in the area of History of Philosophy and Science) and a PhD of Philosophy (in the area of History of Medicine). International Master's Degree in Humanitarian Medicine and Master's Degree in Bioethics. He has published various articles and chapters in books. He was a visiting researcher at the Università degli Studi di Padova and the Sapienza-Università di Roma. He was Bioethics Consultant at the Rey Juan Carlos Hospital, president of the Working Group of the Healthcare Ethics Committee and member of the Working Group of the Healthcare Ethics Committee of the Niño Jesús Hospital. He currently coordinates the area of patient relations at the Francisco Vallés Institute of Clinical Ethics, and the Master's Degre in Clinical Bioethics at the Ortega Gasset Foundation-Menéndez Pelayo International University. His teaching and research area is in Medical Humanities.