Galen: On the Nature of Science (On the Sects for Beginners, by Galen; R. Walzer, M. Frede (trans.)

By Galen; R. Walzer, M. Frede (trans.)

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Additional info for Galen: On the Nature of Science (On the Sects for Beginners, An Outline of Empiricism, On Medical Experience)

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23 / GALEN 24 while I will put forth precisely what kind of doctrine it is which charac­ terizes the empiricist position. But let us suppose that the person who says all the things which are to be found in this book himself is an empir­ icist. 44 CHAPTER II which explains whence 0te art of medicine, according to the empiricists, has taken its origin 45 We say that the art of medicine has taken its origin from experience, and not from indication. By "experience", we mean the knowledge of some­ thing which is based on one's own perception, by "indication", the knowledge which is based on rational consequence.

For, if we do not learn what kind of disposition it is, we will still not yet know whether it is some kind of relaxation or softness or looseness of texture. For one also cannot find this out from them, given that they say nothing definite but just whatever comes to their mind, now this, now something else, often also everything at once, as if it did not make any difference. And if one tries to inform them how these things differ from each other and how each of them needs its own specific treatment, they not only do not want to hear any of it but even attack the ancients, saying that they made such distinctions for no purpose.

Some of them, though, add not "which are rele­ vant" but "which accord". The vast majority combines both and says that the Method is knowledge of apparent communities which accord with and are relevant to the end of medicine, but some, among them Thessa­ lus, add "which are proximate to and necessary for health". It is for this reason that they think they should not be called dogmatics, for, unlike them, they have no need for what is not manifest. But nor yet are they empiricists; since, however much they may occupy themselves with what is apparent, they are separated from the empiricists by their use of indi­ cation.

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