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Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus often Anglicized as Galen and better known as Galen of Pergamon was a Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher in the.
Table of contents

For Galen, of course, this acknowledgement is intimately linked with the assertion of purposive design and the denial that Atomism or mechanism could ever give a satisfactory account of such properties.


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We can, however, go a little further, and state that there are points, at least, where Galen attempts to give some more concrete account of what a capacity is or how it works. At Praes. Gill , Singer , with extensive further bibliography ; at the same time it is an area beset with interpretive complexities. The three parts—rational, spirited, desiderative—correspond to and are located in, respectively, the brain, the heart and the liver. The former ethical discussions give no significant account of a bodily aspect to psychic function, while in the latter context certain features central to that ethical account are absent or recede.

The internal interrelation of the parts, so essential to the ethical account see below is not only absent from the physiological account; it is quite difficult to see how it could be mapped onto it.

It is tempting, in view of the correlations that Galen explores, both between the functioning of the rational soul and states of the brain, and between emotional disturbances and states or activities of the heart and blood, to see him as advancing either some form of dual aspect theory or, indeed, a mind-body identity theory. It is important to understand the anatomical-medical, as opposed to narrowly philosophical, background here.

This crucially included the discovery of the nervous system, as well as some detailed knowledge and theorization of the anatomy and functions of the brain all, of course, quite unknown to Plato, with whose theory Galen attempts to harmonize them ; see von Staden Such a single command centre is not at least explicitly present in Plato; similarly, such a physically centralized psychic concept is at best vaguely present in Aristotle.

Yet it is not quite as simple as that. Galen exemplifies and expounds this view at length in his refutation of Chrysippus in PHP II and III; such relationships between physical states and mental ones are also explored in a range of medical texts too see Singer forthcoming. Galen makes interestingly precise attempts at identifying physical correlates for a range of psychological or emotional states, in terms of the precise actions and states of heart or blood; yet the texts in question are unclear on the precise nature of the causal or identity relationship.

Relevant here too are the medical discussions in which it is clearly implied that certain types of physical state—e. The strongest case for a mind-body identity theory in Galen, however, is provided by the discussion of the relationship between rational soul and physical features of the brain, especially in QAM.

The central aim of that work is to demonstrate the extent of the influence of the body, specifically bodily mixture, on the soul; this Galen does with examples from medicine e.

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How, he asks, could a soul which is not corporeal be be affected by such physical factors, and indeed be caused to leave the body as a result of certain physical conditions QAM 3, ? In a number of passages, he suggests not just the dependence of the soul on bodily mixture, but the identity of the two:.

2. Philosophy and the Galenic Corpus

A consideration of all the relevant evidence, however, leads to a less clear-cut picture. The apparently clearest identity statements a and d above come in dialectical contexts; it is at least arguable that Galen is here asserting the identity position not as his own but as the correct Aristotelian conclusion, on the basis of their equation of soul with form. It should also be mentioned that the passages in question are not free from textual and interpretive problems.

Passages b and c , meanwhile, clearly affirm the identity of the mortal parts of the soul with bodily mixtures. Now, this certainly includes the non-rational parts; but, within this same text, even after d , Galen leaves open the Platonic possibility that the rational soul is a non-bodily substance. Other relevant evidence is the lack of clarity, in the medical texts mentioned above, as to the causal relation between mental events and physical correlates; and that some kind of interactionist picture seems implied by statements about the mutually beneficial relationship of soul and body and of their respective training especially in San.

QAM 11, This historically distinctive formulation seems to rely on a definite and uncompromising physicalist view; again, however, the statement in this form is unique within the Galenic corpus. Two things, at least, are uncontentious: that he makes a strong statement of the extent to which mental capacities are physically conditioned; and that he explores the subject in an empirically and physiologically informed manner unique within Graeco-Roman thought. Central is the view that rational and non-rational psychic capacities must be treated separately, both in terms of early discipline and education and in terms of our conceptualization and treatment of their pathologies.

Virtues—although a full or systematic account of these is elusive—may be understood, Platonically, as consisting in the proper functioning of each soul part, and in the proper internal relationship of the parts within the whole. This part is not accessible to rational discourse, but must rather be subjected to a process of training and habituation which will make its appetites appropriate. This complex relationship within the tripartite soul enables—for Galen as for Plato—an account of how certain non-rational drives, in particular reactions of shame and indignation, may be in conflict with other non-rational drives, e.

Galen Facts

In Aff. There are also quite close Platonic echoes in his commitment to various forms of early mathematical and musical training. At the same time, he describes in some detail, especially in Aff. On the other hand, Galen comes down against the necessity of total eradication, especially in Ind. He acknowledges that certain circumstances might deprive him of his moral equilibrium—exile, for example, or injustice visited upon a friend—and hopes not to encounter those.

There is a broader point about pathos : in Aristotle the term is ethically neutral, referring to emotive or non-rational experience quite generally; thus, in the Nicomachean Ethics , virtues may be understood as involving a mean, between an excessive and an inadequate emotive response. Against this, however, it should be observed that Galen adopts an Aristotelian-type mean theory in relation to physical excellence; that he suggests, e.

The desire to free oneself from distress, it is also suggested, may provide a practical starting-point for the ethical project, for the simple reason that no one actually wishes to live with distress whereas people may be happy to live with vices which do not immediately cause this negative experience.

Galeni De locis affectis V-VI / Galen - Über das Erkennen erkrankter Körperteile V-VI

Galen is clear that the domain of ethics covers the identification and correction of both; yet in the latter area—that of ethical errors of reason—his discussion is much less clear. He prefers to focus on intellectual error and inadequate intellectual training more broadly, in a way which seems more relevant to the discovery of scientific than to that of ethical truth. Relatedly, it is difficult to find in Galen a clear answer to the question of the goal of life, or ultimate good for human beings.

That Galen is some kind of theist is clear. His philosophical theology is seen especially in texts such as UP and Foet. Yet there are traces of a more specific theological philosophy. The view of the heavenly bodies as intelligent appears both in QAM and in UP ; and although it is presented in somewhat vague terms, it motivates specific philosophical arguments. The heavenly world is transcendently good and superior; yet it has an influence—at some remove—on our lower world.

Consideration of the relationship between the heavenly realm and our everyday world leads to two specific types of conclusion: one, that our consciousness of the operation of a higher intelligence in this lower world should make us aware how much more admirable and perfect must be its operation in that higher one UP XVII. Again there is the distinction to be made between the essentials about which Galen is certain—here, that there is a purposive intelligence manifest throughout the universe—and the specifics, speculation about which may lead ultimately to aporia.

Galen also claims to have had personal experience of the interventions of specific gods within the Greek polytheistic world most notably of Asclepius, the god of medicine. If it seems difficult to reconcile such a conventional, anthropomorphic manifestation of religion with the philosophical view of God as a teleological cause or as immanent Nature, it should perhaps be said that such a co-existence of abstract theology with traditional individual gods is by no means confined to Galen, amongst Graeco-Roman philosophical writers one could mention both Plato and Epictetus in this context.

In any case, it is to the divine intelligence manifest throughout the universe, rather than to any individual god, that Galen constantly returns; it is this intelligence which is the object of his religious—and by the same token of his intellectual, indeed his scientific—fervour. Page numbers given in references in the article are those of the translation or, in the absence of translation, of the Greek edition, cited here. Galeni Opera Omnia , ed. Cnoblochii, —33, repr. Galeni Pergameni Scripta Minora , ed.

Marquardt, I. Helmreich, 3 volumes, Leipzig: Teubner, —93; SM available online. In several cases, noted below, translations also appear alongside the Greek text in the CMG edition. Lyons, K. Kalbfleisch, J. Kollesch, D. Nickel, and G. Nickel, CMG V 3.

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Mewaldt, CMG V 9. Boudon-Millot and J. Jouanna, with A. Nutton in Singer Kalbfleisch, Leipzig: Teubner, , Inst. Kieffer, Galen's Institutio Logica , Baltimore, Johnston and G. R Horsley, 3 vols. Davies in Singer Rosa, Pisa and Rome: Fabrizio Serra, Brock, Loeb Classical Library, Barigazzi, CMG V 1. Nutton, CMG V 8.

Nutton, CMG V 3. Boudon-Millot and A. Koch, CMG V 4. Helmreich, Teubner, , [ Temp. English trans.

Helmreich, Teubner, —9, [ UP available online ]; English trans. Aristotle, General Topics: logic atomism: ancient form vs. The author wishes to acknowledge the support of both the Wellcome Trust and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for funding of the research project in the course of which this article was written. Galen First published Fri Mar 18, Life 2.

Philosophy and the Galenic Corpus 2. Demonstration apodeixis : Theory and Practice 3. Logic: Historical Contribution 5. Causation 5. Physical Theory and Biological Concepts 6. Philosophy of Mind 7. Ethics 8. Theology Bibliography A. Primary Sources A. Life Galen was born into the intellectual and social elite of the culturally Greek city of Pergamon near the northwest coast of Roman Asia, in present-day Turkey in CE, the son of an architect.

Logic: Historical Contribution We have devoted considerable attention to the importance of logic for Galen in relation to the theory of demonstration and early intellectual training. An example of a relational syllogism—from which such relevance is indeed clear—is: Theo has twice as many possessions as Dio; but Philo has twice as many possessions as Theo; therefore, Philo has four times as many possessions as Dio. Theology That Galen is some kind of theist is clear. Bibliography A.

Early Years

Singer, P. Walzer, R. Secondary literature Adamson, P. Hansberger, and J.