In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS 523 all men were "endowed by nature with perception and intelligence which are the sources of knowledge" (p. 11, quoted from De placitis Hippocratis et Platonis). Geometry is important in this perception, and geometric axioms provide the intelligence with the criterion of intelligible things (here Temkin, p. 11, n. 6, employs the example from Galen's De methodo medendi, which provides the splendid example and illustration of Plato in Galen). The great works of Hippocrates aid in understanding Plato's ideal as it applies to medicine, and Plato, in turn, illuminates Hippocratic medicine.5 Galen borrowed Aristotle's concept of the four Elements (fire, air, earth, and water), formed by union of matter, and the four Qualities of hot, cold, dry, and moist. All Galenic interpretations of body-function (the modern "physiology") come under this basic Aristotelian idea. Nourishment and drink consumed by men and animals, are made up of the four Elements. Digestion transforms food and drink into the body juices, the humors, which have four main types: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. Air alone is used directly by the body in the process of breathing. Thus, disease is an improper mixture (krasis) of humors, and health is the most balanced mixture. Treatment by contraries (usually in the form of food and drugs) becomes the 'method of choice' in diseased states, as Galen links Aristotelian logic with Hippocratic practice. Aristotle provides Galen with his initial concept of anatomy, especially in dissection. Aristotle's "similar or simple" parts are Galen's "simple parts," those which remain what they were even when cut into small pieces (e.g., bone and skin). Dissection leads to the perception of the remarkable structure of nature's creation, and all parts of that structure are compacted into Galen's ideal summary of anatomy, drug-tore, states of diseases known (following the Hippocratic "cases"), "physiology," and---above all interpretation of health and disease through the insights of philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. Yet this ideal seems at variance with Galen's petty venom directed at his medical colleagues; and later commentators (esp. in Byzantium and among the Arabs) rejected the idealized picture of Galen and Galen's medicine, since they "suspected his central motive, his allegedly unselfish fight for truth" (p. 119). Professor Temkin shows mastery of very difficult texts, especially as he unweaves the physiological and philosophical notions embedded in Galen's medicine. Galenism, however , does not merely summarize Galen's medicine, or the medicine of the Roman Empire in the second century. The volume gives a long-needed perspective of how medicine in its philosophical mold functioned (among the theoreticians) from Galen's day through the early nineteenth century. Through Galenism, the mark of Hippocrates, Plato, and Aristotle , remained the manner of medicine in the west until about 150 years ago. The history of philosophy has a rich contribution in Temkin's Galenism. It is a book that will repay many readings and consultations, since it offers a Galen and Galenic philosophy that clearly indicates one of the most important intellectual forces in western history. By viewing that influence, paramount until rather recently, one may gain a better understanding of our own time, which has chosen another path. JOHN SCARBOROUGH University o/ Kentucky Severino Boezio. 2 volumes. By Luca Obertello. (Genova: Accademia Ligure di Scienze e Lettere, 1974. Vol. I, pp. 810; vol. II, pp. 326) These two volumes appropriately initiate a series of publications in the area of Classical studies sponsored by the Accademia Ligure di Scienze e Lettere, for they constitute an impressive piece of Boethian scholarship. They are not Obertello's first contribution in 5 This is also one of the basic points in the generally excellent Galeno by Luis Garcla Ballester (Madrid, 1972). 524 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY this field. He prepared the critical edition of and commentary on one of Boethius' important logical works, De hypotheticis syllogismis (Brescia: Paideia, 1969), and has written two other articles on aspects of his thought ("Motivi dell'estetica di Boezio," Rivista di Estetica 12 (1967), 360-387, and "Boezio, le scienze del quadrivio e la cultura medievale," Atti dell'Accademia Ligure di Scienze e Lettere, 28 (1971), 152-170). The...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 523-5525
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.