Dmitry A. Balalykin
FSAEI HE I.M. Sechenov First MSMU MOH Russia (Sechenov University)
Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences
This article attempts to reconstruct the main phases of the history of the Methodic school doctors. Representatives of this medical school, just like the empirical doctors, rejected the teleological principle of the human body and the possibility of extrapolating data obtained from anatomical dissections to clinical practice. They also rejected the Hippocratic principle of the etiology and individual character of diseases. In the author’s opinion, rejecting the study of the dead in the interest of learning about the living is related to the particularities of the “world map” of the Methodic doctors, the theoretical teaching basis of whom was natural philosophical atomism and whose clinical thinking was based on a symptomatic approach. The author of the article points out that we learned many concepts of the philosophy of atomism through the works of Aristotle as well. The atomistic world map helps make conclusions about the diﬀ erence between a living and a dead body that are determined by the presence (or absence) of the movement of atoms. The Methodic doctors, guided by the world map based on atomistic natural philosophy, rejected the practical use of anatomic dissections and consequently, the necessity of conducting them. The Methodic doctors needed theories that would logically explain the phenomena they observed, while for rationalistic doctors theoretical medicine was a motive for experimental studies, whose results would become its foundation.
The productivity of natural philosophical trends in the history of medicine was determined by how much the methodology proposed by the doctors responded to the practical tasks of the art of healing. Critical understanding of the medical experience in ancient medical practice became possible thanks to the apodictic research method used by Galen. The integral theoretical-practical system he created became the historical boundary that separated Ancient Greek rational medicine from the rational medicine of the proto-scientiﬁ c period (the 2th‒16th centuries).
Keywords: history of medicine, empirical doctors, rationalistic doctors, natural philosophy