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‣ The value of public health research and the division between basic vs. applied science

Almeida-Filho,Naomar; Goldbaum,Moisés
Fonte: Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases Publicador: Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica Formato: text/html
Publicado em 01/02/2003 Português
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We question the movement towards exclusion of population and social health research from the field of science. The background under analysis is contemporary Brazil, where the scientific field that hosts this kind of research is known as Collective Health. First, the problem is formalized on logical grounds, evaluating the pertinence of considering unscientific the many objects and methods of public health research. Secondly, the cases of pulmonary tuberculosis and external causes are brought in as illustrations of the kind of scientific problem faced in health research today. The logical and epistemological basis of different forms of "scientific segregation" based on biomedical reductionism is analyzed, departing from three theses: (i) the ethics of the general application of science; (ii) the inappropriateness of monopolies for objectivity in the sciences; (iii) the specificity of scientific fields. In the current panorama of health research in Brazil, a residual hegemonic position that defends a narrow and specific definition of the object of knowledge was found. The denial of validity and specificity to objects, methods and research techniques that constitute social and population research in health is linked to elements of irrationality in reductionism approaches. Nevertheless...