3- Medical Humanities in the Middle East Conference
  • EISSN: 2223-506X


Philosophical interpretation of any scientific discipline is impossible without understanding the methods of cognition inherent in this discipline. The history of medicine is also formed by the understanding of the evolution of the methods of knowledge–clinical and experimental. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to describe the history of medicine as a set of individual events, but philosophy of medicine is understood as a system-forming phenomenon only from the moment of scientific revolutions (17th - 19th centuries). However, in relation to other natural science disciplines, for example, mathematics, the point of view regarding the apodictic method (i.e., the method of rigorous proof) is generally accepted as a method of knowledge that has determined the entire history of these disciplines. I argue that medicine was also strongly influenced by early Ionian physics (as well as astronomy or mathematics), and the apodictic method (methods of rigorous rational knowledge and proof) has existed in the history of medicine since antiquity. Even Sir Geoffrey Lloyd expressed this hypothesis, based on some treatises from the Hippocratic Corpus. In turn, I argue that the apodictic method in medicine had already been fully developed in the treatises of Galen. I propose to define the apodictic methodology in medicine as follows: the apodictic method of proof in medicine is anatomical dissections, clinical systematization and the rational doctrine of general pathology (the last one with certain limitations). The characteristics of the use of the method of rigorous proof in the work of ancient authors enables us to identify three stages in the development of the methodology of ancient medicine. The first stage ‒ the period of the inception of the apodictic method—defines the establishment of the foundations of Greek rational medicine, based on Hippocratic principles. The period of the establishment of the apodictic method is associated with the works of Aristotle devoted to the argumentation theory, the theory of motion and the practice of systematic dissection of animals based thereon. Most important was the establishment of comparative anatomy. The third stage—the period of the development of the apodictic method—is characterized by Galen’s work. Galen introduced the apodictic method in medical practice and substantiated its significance for further development of medicine as a science. The real keeper of Galenic-Hippocratic medicine during the 8th-11th centuries was the medicine of the Islamic world. In a certain sense, it was not only preserved, but also enriched. In this context the works of Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi are of particular importance. He developed and critically rethought the teachings of Galen on the systematics of diseases. Most of al-Razi’s critical points were aimed at expanding and deepening clinical applications and general clinical logic reflected by this systematic approach. At the same time, we practically cannot speak about the development of anatomic dissections during the Islamic period of Galenic-Hippocratic medicine existence.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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