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Jon McGinnis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331479

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331479.001.0001

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Medicine and the Life Sciences

Medicine and the Life Sciences

(p.227) 9 Medicine and the Life Sciences

Jon McGinnis (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter first considers where Avicenna envisions medicine within his general classification of the sciences. It next presents the general principles of the humoral medicine that Avicenna adopts, and then discusses Avicenna’s views about health and the causes of disease or malady more generally. It concludes by considering a concrete issue of a medical-philosophical nature treated in Avicenna’s writings, namely, a problem associated with embryonic development and specifically whether embryonic development occurs gradually, as observation seems to suggest, or in stages, as theory seems to dictate. In the end, the chapter hopes to show how Avicenna successfully wed the best medicine of his time with his own philosophical system.

Keywords:   medieval medicine, Galenic medicine, humoral medicine, life sciences, humors, vital spirits, temperaments, health, illness, embryonic development

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