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BOOK REVIEWS 521 Incidentally, "Wissenschaft" is misleading as a translation of episteme in the Charmides --it should be simply rendered as "Wissen." Although justified in particular places, "Wissenschaft" produces a determinacy which is not present in the Greek. The dialogue proceeds in large measure through the almost complete fluidity of the content of episteme. Indeed, one of the main desiderata of an interpretation of the dialogue is an analysis of the content of the concept at various stages of the dialectic. This book is a good illustration of the perils into which one may fall through treating a Platonic dialogue as if it were merely a piece of literature and not also a very sophisticated piece of philosophizing. RICI-IARDHOGAN Southeastern Massachusetts University Galenism: Rise and Decline of a Medical Philosophy. By Owsei Temkin (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1973. Pp. xvii + 240. $15.00) It is common to assert that Galen of Pergamon (c. A.O. 130-200) was one of the great physicians of classical antiquity, and equally common to read that Galen and his medicine had enormous impact upon medicine and medical theory well into the nineteenth century. That influence is usually characterized as woeful or negative, in light of the state of medicine since 1870, when, in Temkin's words, "medicine was firmly launched on its new scientific course, which gave it the intellectual unity it had lost after the downfall of Galenism as a medical philosophy" (p. 191). It should be striking, perhaps even amazing, that one physician's approach to medicine was dominant in the western world for almost 1700 years. At the same time, Galen has received scant attention from scholars, as compared to, say, Aristotle. Temkin's Galenism stands among the very few volumes, published in the twentieth century, that considers the influence of Galenism as a medical philosophy, and offers as an added bonus, a lucid view of how markedly changed is the medicine of our time from the medical practice and concepts of western man before 1870. Within 192 pages of text and notes to the original Greek, Galenism is stuffed with insight and information. Insight is apparent in the title: Temkin has perceptively written about medicine and its philosophical base in antiquity, and painstakingly noted how Plato and Aristotle--and the Hippocratic teachings---were combined by Galen into one grand, all-inclusive medical philosophy. As obvious as this might appear, now that Galenism is before us, the book is pioneering. Almost all considerations of classical medicine presume ancient physicians were scientists, too, handing out merit badges to moderns unsubtly. Galen in his own words sometimes looks like a modern doctor, and sometimes he does probe nature for his information, as he tells us (verbosely) about dissection, treatment of various diseases, etc., but Galen does not perceive disease and health in terms comprehended by modem times. It is the vehicle of philosophy that most clearly makes Galen's medicine (and the medicine of earlier Greek antiquity) into a species very unlike the medicine practiced in the modern western world. Galen's "great guiding light" in all his efforts was that of philosophy.1 Subsumed were the numerous intellectual endeavors that led to his "medicine ": seed testing, the study of art and its forms, architecture, literature and Greek syntax and grammar, as well as the expected dissection, drug-gathering, and consolidation 1 Galen (Kiilm), III, 117 [where the logos enters into Galen's interpretation of his muscle dissections]. Galen, I, 53-63 ("The Best Doctor is also a Philosopher"), is devoted to the reasons for the view that philosophy is the "bright light" that guides a physician's work. Most suggestive is Galen's remark (XII, 166) that philosophy provides exact and meaningful models for medicine. 522 H/STORY OF PHILOSOPHY of medical experience.2 Over all was his perception of the world of nature, in terms that reflected philosophy and the many "schools" of his time. Having studied Epicurean, Skeptic, and Stoic writings, and having listened to several teachers of the varying philosophical approaches, Galen came to reject them all in favor of his own brand of Eclecticism . In one respect, his combination of numerous elements into one philosophical pattern makes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 521-523
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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