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Lecture 6

249 - Week 6 – Lecture 1 - Medicine and the Scientific Revolution.docx

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HIST 249
Faith Wallis

Week 6 – Lecture 1 History 249 - Health and Healer in the Western World Medicine and the Scientific Revolution Does medicine also have a scientific revolution? - yes and no ▯ medicine is not just understanding truths in the natural world but it is also about taking care of people ▯ craft as well as an enterprise * Why this is a scientific ‘revolution’ - DEVELOPMENTS ▯ rational argument for the Plague was that a conjunction between the planets that circled around the Earth thus forcing change = pestilence occurred o Earth at the centre surrounded by planets which were moving  motion is change – geocentric o 1543 – Copernicus: ‘On the Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies’= heliocentric  BUT- he was not the first person to present this idea; he didn’t prove it but hypothesised it = not until about 50 years later when the accumulation of other types of data e.g. with telescopes, when evidence for heliocentricism became overwhelming o Discoveries thus develop slowly NOT overnight = thus instead of thinking of specific discoveries that changed the view of the world, but instead the social and cultural impact  during this period science becomes a defining feature of European civilisation = to prove something scientifically is to virtually say that it is true = this starts to occur during the SRev - this happens because of key players who believed that this was a good idea ▯ willing to accept the discoveries and the implication of them regarding the world view and their view of the human condition o often harmonised with their own interests e.g. monarchs wanted support for absolutism etc. = Sci Rev goes far deeper than just discoveries * Ancient times = pondering the world, just thinking about it e.g. what really lies behind it ▯The purpose of nature and God - conceptual framework was fundamentally qualitative  basic template for thinking of the world was in terms of qualities that had latitudes e.g. wet and dry - method for ‘doing’science = logical inference and deduction potentially backed up by ordinary, everyday experience e.g. the dissections in medieval university  intellectual model presented by Galen and the dissection is to confirm this, not reconsider Galen’s knowledge *New Science = not about contemplating the world, but a more direct and engaged approach - idea not of purpose but more interest in how it goes together ▯ pushing aside of the purpose becomes key to scientific revolution o conceptual development moves towards more mechanical and mathematical concepts – Galileo QUOTE = only what is true is what can be measured mathematically  beginning to see a real push against the idea that physics let alone physiology can be explained in qualitative terms  new methods – much less wedded to the idea of logical inference, and more towards experimentation = deliberately testing out – even new – ideas that may not have been tried by the ancients • doesn’t happen overnight or in a flash = general trend towards this * Scientific Revolution basics: - Paradigms are shifting ▯ European view of the world is being really rather shook up – period of confusion, fragmentation and instability - authority is beginning to be displacd by experience – Vesalius: instead of returning to the authorities, experience is used as a way to advance beyond the ancients - authority will be challenged by pure reason  e.g. Descartes’mathematical thinking  do we need the ancients? – people can think of new solutions - new attitude towards experimentation and experiments  often instruments that expand the human senses like telescopes and microscopes *Paradigms Shifting - Heleocentricism – shoots the notion of celestial influence out of the water since there is no basis for this any longer *Authority vs. Experience – Paracelsus 1493-1541 - Name itself means ‘beyond Celsus’whom was one of the ancients - Influenced by the protestant reformation that aims to return Christianity to the biblical roots  also wants to return medicine to it’s divine roots o Rejects Galen because he was pagan  how can one understand nature if one doesn’t see the creator?  doctor is a Christian magician (magus) who by criticism and experiemtnation, one can see the powers which the Creator puts into plants and minerals  Suggested that minerals could be used for therapy e.g. with syphilis  mercury was used since it makes one salivate  a way for one to expel the poison of syphilis within - Follow nature without listening to the ancients  listen to the common people whom are in close contact with nature - Think of the body as an alchemical process of transformation  alchemy as the ancestory of modern chemistry = medieval science of purifying base metals to make gold o Can chemical processes accelerate the process that nature uses to make gold?! o The body was thus an alchemical process that created substances like pure blood  Disease inhibited this process = minerals etc. could treat these - Also suggested that diseases were not communicated by poisoned air but by ‘seeds of disease’– this was an idea that Hippocrates had wanted to squash since it had the potential to be viewed as witchcraft that could be sent by someone else - Paracelsus = somewhat laughed at BUT others were very enthusiastic about his theories and Paracelsian doctors were really rather popular amongst royal courts due to monarchical interest in alchemy for gold o P has quite the impact on medicine  authority is gone, experience is key Also Francis Bacon – public intellectual - creates a programme for a new science esp. in theAdvancement of Learnng and the Novum Organum o intended to replace dependence on the authority of the ancients  we should assemble an inventory of facts about the world = part of the second generation of those whom are familiar with travel to the New World and the East Indies that showed the necessity of discovery  observation and natural histories would provide facts = this would be the basis of a new science  new science also has a new purpose = not to allow us to contemplate god or nature, but instead to give us power over the world  e.g. power to cure disease = empirical and utilitarian approach to science • ‘knowledge is power’ *Authority vs. Reason - Descartes  authority is useless, truth comes from abstract cogitation  scepticism is necessary to establish truth o One returns at certainty through deduction  because he had the ability to think, one existed  Not very interested in fact finding, but instead elaborating distinct theorised ideas that would be the basis for rational science • Very impressed by Copernicus by literally taking the soul out of the heavens  demonstrated that motions of the heavens could be determined mathematically  Similarly – one does not need to postulate the soul in the body  deanimated the body  body was material, soul is not: the body is a set of biological processes which could be described mathematically and mechanically; soul is the animation and thus separate  the spirit attached to the body by the pineal gland • The soul = the thing that thinks is very separate from the body which doesn’t think  simply meat that gets moved by purely mechanical means - In comparison to Galen’s ideas in which each of the 3 organs have an intelligence to them o Limbs of the body attract blood due to an appetite = notion that the body has intentions and works with things like appetite are strange to Descartes  Descartes = not a great experiment but deconstructs the ancients by unfettered reason… *Instruments and Experiments - Bacon = nature is God’s secrets which science strips bare  instruments were weapons or tools by which human senses could be extended to places which they had never been before o Boundaries of experience and experiment are extended by instruments *Did medicine have a scientitic revolution? Were doctors scientific revolutionaries? - Well  medicine did not really have a revolution until the 19thC  Galenism was really very elastic and provided methods for taking care of their patients and thus therapeutics for patients could not just be thrown out o Harvey himself – very conservative, polemically and religiously  would not have considered himself revolutionary - How was Harvey revolutionary then? o Galen’s heart: blood only goes from the centre of the body outwards; venous blood is made from food in the liver, stored in the veins = no idea that blood moved through the veins with any kind of propulsion  known that blood moved through veins as shown when they were opened, but idea of this; various parts of the body attract the blood because they want to consume it  blood was food for life  Arterial blood  manufactured by the blood that seeps through holes in the intra-ventricular section  mixed with air from the lungs  only goes outward through the aorta to provide air to the body • Only exception to the rule that blood always goes out  is the blood that goes into the heart on the left side = heart was acting as bellows = heart was expanding to suck in air from the lungs, cooked by the vital heat of the heart, mixed with air from the heart and then sent out through the aorta o When the heart moves = was moving outwards to suck in air and blood on the right side  Conclusion = arrived at largely through common sense  somewhat intuitive to think that what is being heard is the expansion of the heart as it hits the side of the ribcage in diastole BUT actually, it is the heart contracting that creates this sound • Why did arteries pulse? Galen said = they pulsate because they have an innate capacity for rhythmic stretching  a sign of the presence of the vital pneuma coming in from the lungs  this pulsative faculty was lodged in the thick coats of the walls o Problems – vessel entering the heart  carries bright red arterial blood = got to be an artery BUT structurally it looks like a vein – ‘an artery that looks like a vein’  Coming from the r ventricle of the heart, there is a vessel that looks like an artery but it is deoxygenated, venous blood – ‘a vein that looks like an artery’ = why would nature reverse the roles? This is an anomaly given that natur
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