D.A. Balalykin, A.P. Shcheglov, N.P. Shok

I.M. Sechenov First Moscow Medical University, The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation

In an analysis of Galen’s “Adhortatio ad artes addiscendas”, the authors examine its epistemological model. One of the main theses of Galen is the quality of the human soul (the presence of intelligent design within it), providing for the possibility of rationally exploring the surrounding world. The result of rational-empirical activity is the gaining of true knowledge. Man, according to the Roman physician, is able consciously choose a field of employment, meaningfully and purposefully acquire so-called ”technical skills”. The resilience of the resulting skills, based on knowledge and proven by logic, is the result of hard work (the process of obtaining empirical evidence and speculative practices, and their contemplation) and the daily practice of these things (theoretical and practical). According to Galen, all that is important for the development of the human capacity for rational knowledge of art can be divided into three levels: higher (spiritual, sacred) – medicine, rhetoric, geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, grammar, law, music; handicraft art – pottery, architecture, carpentry, teaching in school, sculpture and painting; all other forms of activity (acrobatics, athletics and so on). One of the basic ideas of Galen is the importance of rational knowledge in conjunction with internal and external harmony (body and soul), which is achieved by working on the unconscious (the control of basic human passions: the struggle with pride, avarice and gluttony). Only this way, according to Galen, allows for a person to fully realize all the possibilities of the mind and master true art, to comprehend the true nature of things, the laws of nature.

Keywords: history of medicine, history of science, Galen, rational knowledge, truth, epistemology, technical skills

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