An anti-Aristotelian point of method in three rationalist doctors

Michael Frede

in Episteme, etc.

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199696482
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738036 | DOI:
An anti-Aristotelian point of method in three rationalist doctors

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Diocles of Carystus was perhaps the most important physician in the period between the Hippocratic writers, on the one hand, and Herophilus and Erasistratus, on the other. Diocles was a contemporary of Aristotle — but it is far from clear, and a matter of controversy, whether he was a younger contemporary, let alone a student, of Aristotle. All of Diocles' writings have been lost, but there is a substantial number of fragments and testimonies collected by M. Wellmann in Die Fragmente der sikelischen Ä rzte. This chapter focuses on one sentence in Diocles' fragment, which seems to reflect a position that is radically at variance with a view that is central to Aristotle's conception of science. The sentence in question is this: ‘Furthermore, because many of the things that are (the case) seem in a way like some sort of principles’. The chapter shows that three important Rationalist physicians disagreed with Aristotle in assuming that mere truths of observation and experience form an important part of medical knowledge, properly speaking, but rather that this deviation from Aristotle reflected different views concerning medical knowledge among themselves.

Keywords: Diocles of Carystus; Aristotle; science; medical knowledge; Rationalists

Chapter.  13138 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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