ISSN 2409-5834

Vivisection Ancient and Modern

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Gary Ferngren


This paper addresses the debate over the practice of human vivisection, most notably as practiced in the ancient world by the Alexandrian physicians Herophilus and Erasistratus. No issue in Greek medicine attracted more intense dispute in the classical world than did vivisection, on the ethics of which Greek physicians were divided. Moreover, there was a widespread, culturally rooted repugnance towards experimentation on the human body in ancient Greek and Roman society, which applied to dissection of cadavers as well as vivisection, and hampered the development of scientific progress in medical care

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