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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

The Holistic Approach of Evolutionary Medicine: An Epistemological Analysis


Evolutionary medicine is a new discipline characterized by a holistic approach to health and disease based on the theories and concepts of evolutionary biology. Unlike many previous medical holisms, evolutionary medicine seems to integrate medical and biological specialities without pretending to be an alternative view to ‘orthodox science.’ The holism of this approach, in fact, is based on a unifying rational principle – natural selection – that can produce hypotheses and previsions which are experimentally testable. In this text, I investigate aspects of the human body and mind, as well as the principles and the methods through which evolutionary medicine found a holistic perspective of health and disease. The aim is to underline the epistemological structure of this approach, shaping a context for further discussions about its nature, legitimacy and applicability.

Insights Paper