Abstract

The goal of this essay is to explore the meaning of experience in William Harvey’s work. I begin by expanding on Andrew Cunningham’s argument (2002, 2003) that for Harvey, anatomy was an experience-based science of final causes. Observation and reason are united through experience (experientia) for Harvey, that is, by the repeated exercise of these capacities. Thus through the training and use of these abilities, Harvey thinks he can learn the final causes of living things and their parts. Harvey thinks that anatomy is the skill (facultas) by which one is able to make justified inferences to these causes. Finally, such inferences are based on a large set of rationally organized anatomical observations (historia), not upon direct, singular observations alone.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9274
Print ISSN
1063-6145
Pages
pp. 305-323
Launched on MUSE
2016-05-18
Open Access
No
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