presocratics and the rise of rational medicine n.
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Presocratics and the Rise of Rational Medicine. CLAS3051. Review. What are three important characteristics of Egyptian and Mesopotamian thinking about medicine? From what reasoning do they arise? Is it right to call these 'pre-rational'?

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  • What are three important characteristics of Egyptian and Mesopotamian thinking about medicine?
  • From what reasoning do they arise?
  • Is it right to call these 'pre-rational'?
  • Do the early Greeks, for example in Homer, share these ways of thinking about disease?
  • How do the early Greeks differ?
  • How did these ideas persist in the Greek world?
who said it
Who Said It?
  • “all science is either Physics or stamp-collecting”
physics in homer and early poetry
Physics in Homer and Early Poetry
  • LII.1-4
  • What natural phaenomena are they trying to explain?
  • What is the prime agent of these?
schools of physics
Schools of Physics
  • “The natural scientists fall into two schools of thought. Some make the underlying stuff single, and identify it with either one of the three [water, air or fire] .... Others, however, claim that the one contains oppositions which are then separated out.” Aristotle Physics 187a12 ff.
  • Thales: water
  • Anaximenes: air
fragmentary nature of evidence
Fragmentary Nature of Evidence
  • We get all this material 'second-hand'
thales of miletus fl 585 bc
Thales of Miletus (fl. 585 BC)‏
  • Prediction of solar eclipse (May 29, 585 BC)‏
  • Political advisor
  • Left no written works
  • Calculating measurements
  • Importance of water (> Egyptian and Babylonian Myths?)‏
  • Pupil of Thales, wrote first book 'on the Nature of things' or Peri Physeos
  • Origin in the apeiron, “limitless”
  • Separation into opposites: wet/dry, hot cold, etc.
  • LII.8-12
anaximenes floruit 546 525 bc
Anaximenes (floruit 546-525 BC)‏
  • Writes book on cosmology based in infinite principle, aer: world breath dominates world order as breath dominates us
  • Change and formation through condensation and movement of air
the sun and moon as wheels
The Sun and Moon as Wheels
  • What is described here?
  • What thought processes lead to this description?
  • What thought processes are rejected?
the sacred disease
The Sacred Disease
  • Where does this text come from?
  • First line give Ionic accent of work: Hierehs Nousou
  • What sort of person wrote it?
    • What experiences does he/she draw from
    • What kind of thinking
If these people claim to know how to draw down the moon .... then, whether they claim to be able to do it by magi or by some other method, they seem to be impious rogues. Either they do not believe in the existence of the gods or they believe that the gods are powerless... I should not call any of these things a divine visitation but a human one, because the divine power has been overcome and forced into subjection by the human will [Hippocrates] Sacred Disease 4.
physical causation
Physical Causation
  • The air which flows into the stomach cools it but makes no other contribution. But that which goes to the lungs and blood-vessels thence enters the body cavities and the brain and has a further purpose. It induces intelligence and is necessary for the movement of the limbs. Therefore when the blood vessels are shut off from this supply of air ... the patient loses his voice and his wits 10
  • “In this disease, as in all others, it should be your aim not to make the disease worse, but to wear it down by applying the remedies most hostile to the disease and those things to which it is unaccustomed” 21
sacred disease continued
Sacred Disease, Continued
  • What is central point of paper?
  • To whom does the author oppose himself
  • What causation is given for epilepsy?
    • To what Milesian philosopher is it most allied?
further study on philosophy
Further Study on Philosophy
  • Gaarder, J. Sophie's World
  • Lloyd, Early Greek Science
  • Waterfield, R. The First Philosophers (Oxford World's Classics)‏
  • Study in Phil. dept.