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Lecture

Medical Writers Lecture Notes

2 Pages
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Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA232H1
Professor
Victoria Wohl

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March 7th Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen
- Medical texts (like Herodotus’ Histories) try to explain natural phenomena but
they’re really always based on underlying assumptions and prejudices
- Here, the descriptions of the sexes are supposed to be based on sex, not gender,
but gender is always creeping in
- Writers try to find a physis that proves and justifies nomos
- Hippocrates, 5th c. BCE
- Aristotle, 4th c. BCE
- Galen, 2nd c. CE (under the Roman Empire)
- despite 700 year range, remarkably consistent opinions
- doctors were all male, though there were female midwives
- beginnings of medical science, competing with magic/charlatanism ability to
explain womans body would give the field legitimacy
- for all of them, womens health = reproductive health
Eg. hysteria is associated with the womb, not brain
- general idea of the male body as normal, female body as abnormal/defective
Female body needs explanation, is a scientific problem to be solved
Female body is always out of whack in some way, pathological
- idea of female passivity
Female semen is passive and needs mans to animate it
Males is generative
Man creates, woman consumes
- Spontaneous abortion scene:
Girls pain is a super great opportunity for Hippocrates
Sense that hes talking to other male doctors
References female tradition, which is shown to be valuable
- womens role in medicine:
No doctors, but some female midwives
Women often used to do physical exams men werent even supposed to
see them in a house, so it was v. difficult to examine them up close
- Galens theory of inversion:
Thought that the sexes were identical, that womens organs were just
inverted
Women are like underdeveloped men (moles eyes analogy)
Thinks of a single sex in two forms could have imagined female form as
the correct one, but instead says that its the mans body that is normal
clear example of nomos influencing physis
- Hippocrates ideas of semen similarly seem to imply that women and men have
the same physical make-up, but he also says that the difference is that womens
semen is defective/passive
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Description
March 7 Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen - Medical texts (like Herodotus Histories) try to explain natural phenomena but theyre really always based on underlying assumptions and prejudices - Here, the descriptions of the sexes are supposed to be based on sex, not gender, but gender is always creeping in - Writers try to find a physis that proves and justifies nomos th - Hippocrates, 5 c. BCE - Aristotle, 4 c. BCE - Galen, 2 c. CE (under the Roman Empire) - despite 700 year range, remarkably consistent opinions - doctors were all male, though there were female midwives - beginnings of medical science, competing with magiccharlatanism ability to explain womans body would give the field legitimacy - for all of them, womens health = reproductive health Eg. hysteria is associated with the womb, not brain - general idea of the male body as normal, female body as abnormaldefective Female body needs explanation, is a scientific problem to be solved Female body is always out of whack in some way, pathological - idea of female passivity Female semen is passive and needs mans t
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