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Galen - Lecture 21.doc

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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2900
Beate Gundert

Galen's Anatomy • Uses his own observations and observations of others such as H. • Galen uses empirical methods in anatomy; his own observation and others (Herophilus) • Uses observation in a subject that empiricists would reject. • Thinks brain in the main centre of though processes. If the heart is the main centre, then if the heart is injured, all functions in the body should seize. • This is based on reason; he usually uses empirical method and logical methods. Galen's Physiology • Rests on two of his predecessors; Hippocratic theory of fluids and Aristotle's teleol- ogy of organs and functions. • Aristotle's teleology: Galen claims that nature arranged the body in such a way that every part in the body fulfils a certain function and is created so that it serves this function in the best possible way. • Galen believed that every living being is adapted to the character and the faculties of his soul. Has a similar passage about the hands. • In this passage, explains that lions have teeth and claw to defend themselves. Man has hands which serves an instrument to create all kinds of things. • Man does not just have hands, man also has reason. Reason is much better than what animals have. Some animals have a particular skill. Man does not have one particular skill, he has reason and it can enable man to learn all types of skills; passes animals by far. • This is his introduction to the his physiology textbook explaining purposes of certain organs and parts of the body. Galen's debt to Hippocrates Passage #262, Page 167 • Galen takes the system of four humours and believes that this particular Hippocrat- ic book was written by Hippocrates himself. • Hippocrates is somehow a hero for Galen; must have done everything right. When Galen cannot find his ideas in the Hippocratic writings; either Hippocrates made a mistake in explaining or someone made a mistake in copying the ideas. • Galen considers himself a prophet of Hippocrates but some of his ideas on him are not quite true • Galen takes three humours normally found in Hippocrates and qualities are at- tribute to those humours like normal in Hippocratic writings but there are qualities to which no humour is attached: cold and dry. • Galen uses logic to deduce that there must be black bile. Since there are four quali- ties there must be four combinations of qualities; dry and cold. • Galen sees himself as a philosopher. Hippocrates was also a combined philoso- pher and doctor of medicine. • Celsus tells us that Hippocrates separated medicine from philosophy. Hippocrates was not just a physician but also a philosopher. He thinks that Hippocrates was also a philosopher in search of the truth. • Galen then attaches different humours not just to qualities but to seasons. ◦ Black bile excess in the prime of life and in fall ◦ Yellow is in excess in summer and young adults - Hippocratic ◦ Phlegm is in excess in winter and in old age - Hippocratic ◦ Blood in excess in spring and youth ◦ We find these ideas in the Hippocratic writings • Galen believes that this particular book was written by Hippocrates himself. • Hippocrates is somehow a hero for Galen and must defend everything right. When Galen cannot find these ideas in the Hippocratic treatses, Hippocrates may sometimes express himself a little unclearly, his purpose is to complete Hip- pocrates, think he is a prophet of Hippocrates. • Black is prominent in middle of life, yellow in the young, phlegm in the elderly • Most of these are also found in the Hippocratic writings Aristotle's influence on Galen's physiology • Aristotle divided the human body and looked closely at solid parts of the body • Looked at solid parts, found that solid parts fell in homiomeres. • Organs are combinations of homiomeres. • Galen says that every organ serves a function. Every organ was an instrument to serve a life function. • Homiomeres are a blend of four qualities just as the humours were for Hip- pocrates. • Galen would explain how these homos came to be in the human being and how or- gans came to be ◦ Efficient cause: get them the way they are is nature. Galen tells us in 263 page 107. Nature when the seed unites in the uterus nature shapes the homes and substance out of two seeds. ◦ Galen believed that both parents contributed to the living being. • Both parents constitute to the living being and the oviducts do insert into the uterus. Both seeds meet in the uterus and nature uses something that Galen calls a gen- erative faculty to create homiomeres. • If he doesn't know how something happens he says that there is a faculty that must be causing this. • Thinks the seed contains the four qualities. • Galen tells us nature has a certain faculty. Nature takes certain combinations of the four qualities from the seeds and creates different types of homiomeres. • Greek word krasis: blend or mixture of the homiomeres. ◦ ex. Bone would have more dry quality than blood which is moist quality. • Nature will join homiomeres to create organs in the shaping faculty. Functions de- pend on the way the homiomeres are joined. • Galen would tell us that the spleen has a certain flesh and certain quality. Sub- stance then enables us to insert a certain function. Spleen has arteries and the movement enables it to do certain things. • We get certain organs that have a certain combination of qualities and what is im- portant is the particular shape. • Attachement of tubes or vessels into them. • Shape, position, attachment of tubes or vessels and certain outgrowths are what is important about organs. • These organs have to maintained so the human can go on living. Organs • Galen would say as Aristotle says each organ serves a particular function that serves the whole organism. A function that serves the whole organism. ◦ Stomach digests ◦ Lung attracts air ◦ Liver forms blood • Galen also noticed that some functions like movement or sensation we can control with our will and the functions we have to do with nutrition we cannot control. • Galen would say all functions that we can control like movement he locates in or- gans called psychic organs. They are located in the brain (thought processes) and some are located in the sensory nerves and muscles which are innervated by the motor nerves. A muscle would be a striated muscle that we can control
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