Archibald Pitcairne

(1652—1713) physician

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Archibald Pitcairne was born on 25 December 1652 in Edinburgh and died there. He entered Edinburgh University in 1668 intending to study divinity, but graduated with an arts degree in 1671. Pitcairne then went to France intending to study law, but fell in with a group of medical students in Paris. He studied medicine in France from 1675 and received an MD from Rheims in 1680. Pitcairne held unorthodox views on religion and politics – he was an Episcopalian who viciously satirized the ruling Presbyterians and supported the Jacobite cause – and his career suffered after the 1688 Glorious Revolution. However, he acquired considerable professional pre-eminence. He was one of the founding members of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and later received the unusual compliment of election to the College of Surgeons. He had an extensive practice among the Scots gentry. Pitcairne's intellectual abilities were widely recognized. He held a post at Edinburgh University, although he appears not to have taught, held the prestigious chair of practice of medicine at Leiden University between 1691 and 1693, and later taught for the College of Surgeons.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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