History of Medicine


An Open Access Journal

The apodictic method in the tradition of ancient Greek rational medicine: Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen

DOI: 10.17720/2409-5834.v3.4.2016.37z

Dmitry A. Balalykin1,2, Nataliya P. Shok1,2 
1Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University
2Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences

The authors suggest a definition of the apodictic method that can be applied to the history of medicine and reveals its development in the works of Hippocrates, Aristotle, and Galen. The apodictic method of proof in medicine is anatomical dissections, the rational doctrine of general pathology and clinical systematics. The particular approach to using this method of rigorous proof in the works of ancient authors allows us to distinguish three stages in the development of ancient medicine’s methodology. The first was the period of the apodictic method’s birth, which determined the foundations of Greek rational medicine based on the principles of Hippocrates. Under these principles, an explanation for the phenomena of nature, and the human body as a part of it, is based on the search for, and study of, natural causes. The foundation period of the apodictic method is associated with the works of Aristotle, which are devoted to the theory of argumentation, contain a formulation for the strict requirements for proof, movement theory, and systematic dissections of animals based on this practice. They also include the formation of the principles of comparative anatomy, which subsequently influenced the development of Herophilos’practice of systematic anatomic autopsies and the development of his health concepts. The third stage was the period of apodictic method – characterized by the works of Galen. He introduced the apodictic method into medical practice and proved its importance for the further development of medical science. The integrated theoretical and practical system established by Galen became a historic milestone, which divided the period of the birth of ancient Greek rational medicine from the period of rational medicine in the protoscience period.

Keywords: history of medicine, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen, apodictic method, ancient Greek rational medicine


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