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Hellenistic medical epistemology

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A023-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

During the Hellenistic period (323–31 bc), there arose, largely in Alexandria, a profound debate in medical methodology. The main participants were the Empiricists, committed to an anti-theoretical, practical medicine based on observation and experience and the various Rationalists, such as Herophilus, Erasistratus, and Asclepiades, who held that general theories of physiology and pathology were both attainable and essential to proper medical understanding and practice. Dispute about the nature of scientific inference and the status of causal explanation mirrored and to some extent conditioned the contemporary debate between Stoics and sceptics about epistemology.

Citing this article:
Hankinson, R.J.. Hellenistic medical epistemology, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A023-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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