HPS319H1 Chapter Notes -Newton'S Laws Of Motion, Gluttony, Archibald Pitcairne

History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Course Code
Lucia Dacome

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Week 3: Trusting George Cheyne: Scientific Expertise, Common Sense, and Moral Authority in
Early Eighteenth-Century Dietetic Medicine.
George Cheyne- iatromechanist, dietary writer, physician
Physicians role historically- between expertise and common sense, he was an exert,
and accepted the role that he would say the causes, course and possible cure of
condition AND maintenance of health and attainment of long life
There was a meaningful interaction been physicians and patients. Both accepted that
laypersons knew a lot about their bodies and the conditions of their health and
‘Every man his own physician’ – commonly said that after 30 years of age every man
should be his own physician and by then they would know which foods or activities
agreed with them and which did not, and to guess what common illnesses afflicted
Montaigne’s skepticism- habit and constitution molded themselves to each other and
everyone who was not a fool came to know best where his shoe pinched.
Early modern writers would cite ‘Rule of Celsus’ people who were in ordinary good
health should have no need for a physician or put themselves under the constraint of
medical rules.
o Lay commentators referred to commonsensical authority of the Rule of Celsus to
argue against the tyranny of those physicians who cons
o Some physicians have invoked the Rule of Celsus to show that they
acknowledge the moral and pragmatic limits of their professional expertise-
asserting your expertise does not mean you have taken leave of your common
‘He who lives physically lives miserably’
o Proverb
o Moral and practical dangers of subjecting yourself unnecessarily to the
discipline of medical expertise
Understood that laypeople might come to know about common illnesses, the early
signs of their appearances, and the course they tended to take in their bodies, to
reckon themselves possessed of relevant expertise. In therapeutics the person might
be able to juxtapose their expertise to that of physicians and could acquire
knowledge and familiarity with common drugs and procedures to know which did
and did not work for them.
o Apollo’s oracle said ‘know thyself’ and many early modern laypeople thought
that they did know themselves well enough or better than a physician ever
o Dietetics- regimen or hygiene
How you arranged eating and drinking, evacuations, sleeping and
waking, exposure to airs and other environmental features, exercise and
how you managed your emotions, constituted a big part of who you were
and you’re recognized social worth.
Medical counsel toward temperance nothing too much was another
dictum on Apollo’s temple at Delphi
EX. gluttony was bad for you, but it was also bad
Temperance was a classical virture
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