The relationship between the pursuit of science and the practice of medicine has been a theme of abiding interest among medical historians. For the past 30 years or so, historians have characterised that relationship largely in terms of divergence, tension and conflict. My contention is that that tension has been over-stated. In this paper, I show how the narrative of conflict came to dominate historians' accounts of science-medicine relations, and suggest some reasons why that narrative, rather than a more mutualistic understanding of science and medicine, enjoys such credibility among historians of medicine.
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