DOI: 10.17720/2409-5834.v4.3.2017.01a

Dmitry A. Balalykin
Nataliya P. Shok
FSAEI HE I.M. Sechenov First MSMU MOH Russia (Sechenov University)
8 Trubetskaya St., building 2, Moscow 119991, Russia

The article deals with the infl uence of Pythagoreans’ views on medicine. The authors clarify a point of view that has been developed in historiography, according to which during Antiquity there existed a medical school that was formed under the influence of Pythagorean philosophy. An interdisciplinary approach based on data that has reached us owing to the doxographic traditions of ancient authors who mentioned Pythagoreans, historiographical data on the history of Pythagorean teachings and its various aspects, as well as the research related to the reconstruction of the history and philosophy of ancient medicine, allow the authors to draw the following conclusions. Firstly, with respect to the history of medicine, it is necessary to study that part of the historiographic tradition within which the Pythagoreans’ contribution to the development of ancient scientific thought is recognized (the concept of “mathēmatha”). Secondly, we should recognize the importance of this part of the Pythagorean teaching for a comprehensive understanding of the formation processes for proto-scientific knowledge in general and medicine in particular. Thirdly, the emergence of an independent medical school based on the teachings of the Pythagoreans did not take place, so we can say that the emergence of ancient Greek rational medicine occurred precisely within the framework of early Ionian physics and the medical tradition of Cos and its infl uence on healing in the territory of the ancient Ecumene, including Magna Graecia. Finally, one can draw a conclusion about the priority of medical views over philosophical ones in the ancient intellectual tradition. Thus, the authors of the article substantiate two theses important for the history and philosophy of medicine: the lack of infl uence of the Pythagoreans on the formation and development of an independent medical school and the inaccuracy of the classifi cation of some of representatives of ancient medicine among the supporters of this medical tradition.

Keywords: history of medicine, history of science, Pythagoreans, ancient philosophy, ancient Greek rational medicine

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