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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 19(1); 2010 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2010;19(1): 119-135.
'고대 의학에 관하여'에 나타난 서양 의학의 방법
The Methods of Western Medicine in On Ancient Medicine
Deokjin Ban
Department of Liberal Arts, Woosuk University, 330 Samrae-Up, Wanju-Gun, Jeonbuk, Korea. djban21@hanmail.net
The treatise On Ancient Medicine attests that questions of method were being debated both in medicine and in philosophy and is important evidence of cross-discipline methodological controversy. The treatise On Ancient Medicine is the first attempt in the history of Greek thought to provide a detailed account of the development of a science from a starting point in observation and experience. The author of it criticizes philosophical physicians who attempt to systematized medicine by reducing it to the interaction of one or more of the opposites hot, cold, wet, and dry, factors. He regards the theory of his opponents as hypothesis(hypothesis). Medicine has long been in possession of both an arche and a hodos, a principle and a method, which have enabled it to make discoveries over a long period of time. As far as method is concerned, the traditional science of medicine attained the knowledge of the visible by starting from observation and experience, but it recommended the use of reasoning and analogies with familiar objects as a means of learning about the invisible. It also utilized inference from the visible to the visible(epilogismos) and inference from the visible to the invisible(analogismos). The use of analogy as a means of learning about the obscure was also part of thecommon heritage of early philosophy and medicine. But the author's use of the analogical method distinguishes it from Empedocles' well-known analogy comparisons of the eye to a lantern and the process of respiration to the operations of a clepsydra. According to the author, traditional science of medicine used functional analogy like wine example and cheese example to know the function of humors within the body and utilized structured analogy like a tube example and a cupping instrument example to acknowledge an organ or structure within the body. But the author didn't distinguish between the claim that medicine has a systematic method of making discoveries and very different claim that it has a systematic method of treatment. The reason for this is that he thought that discoveries are the end point of the method of investigation and the starting point of the procedures used in treatment.
Key Words: Methods, Hypothesis, Observation, Reasoning, Analogy, Functional Analogy, Structured Analogy
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