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George Martine

(c. 1700—1736) physician


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George Martine was born at St Andrews in Fife (Scotland) and died in Cartagena (in what is now Colombia). He studied medicine at Edinburgh University from 1720 but took his MD at Leiden in 1725. He returned to his birthplace to set himself up in medical practice. In 1740 he published a treatise on animal heat and a collection of Essays Medical and Philosophical which were critical of attempts to reduce physiology and other life sciences to the principles of the mechanical philosophy. He dismissed mechanistic accounts of the human body as mere absurdities and recommended that modern physicians should abandon natural philosophy, chemistry and mathematics and study only the symptoms, changes and periods of diseases. In another essay, ‘On the Heating and Cooling of Bodies’, he pointed to inconsistencies between theories of heat and experimental observations about rates of heating and cooling. This essay was to prove in- fluential in directing the subsequent researches of Joseph Black into ‘capacities for heat’ (later called ‘specific heats’).

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From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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