Wednesday, April 26, 2017


√ continue reading Bynum
--> begin rereading DAB
--> turn to Steno's critique of W.
--> start Wright Locke, Willis... (1991)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


√ Finish Bos Humoral psychology. [There is no place for humors in Descartes mechanism. Willis is the culmination of the substitution of corpuscles for humors in explaining mind body interaction]
--> Aristotle Problems ch XXX on melancholia & black bile.
check Crignon for ref to Harvey & Willis and comparative anatomy.
--> Nedham quote ranking Willis along with Harvey as inovaters.
From Wolfe's discussion of comparative anatomy --> Start Bynum on anatomical method.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Towards a Reassessment of Renaissance Aristotelianism

Charles B. Schmitt. Hist. Sci., xi (1973), 159-193
1. there were many Renaissance 'aristotelianisms' [160]
2. Thomism, Scotism etc continued into the R. and became more fragmented.
3. While Aristotelianism and scholasticism are to some extent coextensive their differences should not be lost sight of [161]
             a. scholasticism = tradition of school and university textbooks.
4. there always critics and opponents of A…ism.
5. A…ism was still in full bloom for most of the 17th c.
              a. when Gassendi taught a non A. course at Aix it was considered unusual.
6. new materials were accepted into the curriculum while traditional elements were retained
7. in the Laudian Statutes of 1636 the basic strucure of A…ian instructure underwent few changes. In fact, the same works of Aristotle --the Organon, Physics, De caelo, De anima, Metaphysics, Ethics and Politics-- were maintained tha the core of he curriculum.This was at a time when new chairs in various subjects, including fields which had never been taught in the university before were being introduced with some frequency [163, note 22]. In fact the basic Aristotelian structure of the university during that period seems to occasion more alarm and indignation on the part of recent interpreters than it provoked in the 16th and 17th centuries
8. the anatomical teachings of Vesalius and Faloppio were quickly absorbed by Aristotelians [171]
9. we find a blossoming of discussions on scientific methodology during the Renaissance, in part stimulated by the emphasis placed on the study of th Posterior analytics in the statutes of universities of the time.
10. the notion of regressus (the use of a twofold 'method', in which both analytic and synthetic procedures were included ... became a practical procedure for the investigation of natural physical science
11. Harvey's methodological debt to A. is explicit in his introduction to de generatione...the principles of scientific investigation used in his work are derived from Posterior analytics.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Michael Sennert

Emily Michael describes Daniel Sennert as a transitional figure in the history of science. Using non-Thomistic Aristotelian notions of form and substance he created an idea of matter that was both corpuscular and used the concept of form. Such transitional figures tend to fade from the cannon. Teasing their profiles out as she has done reshapes my understanding of history.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Reading 12/13/16

Concretely considered as with W.'s description of epidemic fever of 1661.
Abstractly considered in theories of Fernel, Helmont & W.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Reading 11/9/16

Vance mentioned an article by meyer [who wrote on Willis] on vitalism and its relation to greek ideas. meyer presents a very interesting summary of greek biology as essentially derived from plato, his discussion of vitalism is of less interest,

Meyer, A. ...

started plamper on history of emotions. the intro is superficial, though cogent. I ran into an interview by Plamper with Reddy, Rosenwein and ? , they are interesting as doing history of emotions. though it seems that the 17th and 18th century interest in 'passions' is not their focus. they seem more interested in the interaction between ideas/culture and biology than in evolving theories

Chapter 10 of Vance on Mayerne: M. tried to add chemistry to humoralism. his empiricism was aimed at confirming theoretical positions. the notion of 'condition' allowed him to treat individual patients symptoms, while ignoring theory. By Willis' time the galenic theory could be ignored.

mentions Sigerist's idea that Harvey was a Baroque scientist. Looked up Pagel on this Sigerist's article on Harvey. S. sees H's chief modernity as computation. and sees his Aristotelianism as superficial. Pagel goes on to say that H was chiefly concerned with the aristotlean notion of the purpose of circulation

Reading 11/08/16

 Chapter 9 of Vance on Meyerne discusses the death of Prince Henry in 1612. It is the best depiction of early 17th century doctors at work because they collaboated and discussed what they thought would help and Meyerne wrote a defence against accusations of malpractice.

√√ Howells, J. G. & Osborne, M.L. The Incidence of Emotional Disorder in a seventeeth-century Medical Practice, Medical History, 14 (1970)192-198. List of non psychotic patients seen by Shakespeare's son-in-law, Dr John Hall  (1575-1635) published in 1657 (possibly read by Willis. [Sydenham folder]

-->[annex]  Bates, D. G. Sydenham and the Medical Meaning of Method, BHM li (1977)324-338.

--> [Illiad] Harley, D. Political Post-mortems and morbid anatomy in seventeenth -century England, Social History of Medicine, 12 (1994) 1-28.

Harley, D. Spiritual Physic,Providence and English Medicine 1560-1640, in Medicine and the Reformation, (eds) Grell O.P. and Cunningham A. London Routledge 1993

R. Crawfurd, The Last Days of Charles II (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1909)