Medicine before Science: The Business of Medicine from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment

By Roger French | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7

Resolutions

INTRODUCTION

Few histories of medicine are without an evolutionary approach. Histories adopting this approach are not now generally 'whiggish', but they invariably give much attention to signposts indicating the direction of the road and bearing legends such as 'mechanism' or 'circulation'. Many of these directional milestones are clustered in England and the United Provinces of Holland, and, even in the seventeenth century, medical mechanism could be seen by a major figure in Paris as so much modern Dutch nonsense. 1 But as we have seen, Learned and Rational Doctors were successful in the familiar territory of traditional natural philosophy where they did not need signposts or milestones. This was mostly the case in Catholic countries such as Italy and Spain, 2 and we have glanced at some probable religious reasons for this. In Spain in particular, the universities were happy to do without the new doctrines from England and Holland, and viewed with suspicion the instrument of their dissemination, the tertulia, which were private associations. In 1700 the rector of the University of Seville wrote to his counterpart in Osuna urging the destruction of a tertulia. These organisations co-operated, he said, with the object of destroying the Aristotelianism and Galenism of the schools. 3 There were also political and economic circumstances that seem to bear on the matter. The economic centre of gravity of Europe was moving north. Spain was finding it difficult to sustain its colonial empire, which had grown so rapidly in the early sixteenth century, almost as if the conquerors of South America were the descendants of the

____________________
1
See J. Riolan (the Younger), Opuscula Anatomica Nova. Quae nunc primum in lucem prodeunt. Instauratio magna Physicae et Medicinae per Novam Doctrinam de Motu Circulatorio in Sanguinis in Corde, London (M. Flesher), 1649, p. 49.
2
On the position of the new philosophy in Spain, see W. G. L. Randles, The Unmaking of the Medieval Christian Cosmos, 1500—1760. From Solid Heavens to Boundless Æther, Aldershot (Ashgate), 1999, p. 168.
3
Much of his rhetoric was directed against the new Royal Society of Medicine in Seville. Randles, Christian Cosmos, p. 204.

-185-

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Medicine before Science: The Business of Medicine from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Medicine Before Science *
  • Medicine Before Science - The Business of Medicine from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment *
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Sources *
  • Chapter 1 - Hippocrates and the Philosophers 9
  • Chapter 2 - Galen 34
  • Part II - The Latin Tradition *
  • Chapter 3 - Medieval Schools 59
  • Chapter 4 - Scholastic Medicine 88
  • Chapter 5 - The Weakening of the Latin Tradition 127
  • Part III - The Crisis *
  • Chapter 6 - The Crisis of Theory 157
  • Chapter 7 - Resolutions 185
  • Chapter 8 - Enlightenment, Systems and Science 222
  • Select Bibliography 260
  • Index 270
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