Ideas of Galen, by Theme

[Greek, 129 - 200, Born at Pergamum. Settled in Rome at the age of 40, and died there. Doctor and medical thinker, who left many writings.]

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15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 1. Mind / d. Location of mind
Galen showed by experiment that the brain controls the body
     Full Idea: Galen established by experiments in neural anatomy that the brain really is, contra the Stoics and Aristotelians, the body's control centre.
     From: report of Galen (On Hippocrates and Plato [c.170]) by R.J. Hankinson - Galen (damaged)
     A reaction: And about time too. This is one of the most significant events in the development of human understanding. No one has been able to go back to the old view, even Descartes, no matter how much they may long to do so.
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 1. Faculties
We just use the word 'faculty' when we don't know the psychological cause
     Full Idea: So long as we are ignorant of the true essence of the cause which is operating, we call it a 'faculty'.
     From: Galen (On the Natural Faculties [c.170], I.iv), quoted by Dominik Perler - Intro to The Faculties: a History 2
     A reaction: This is probably the view of most modern neuroscientists. I want to defend the idea that we need the concept of a faculty in philosophy, even if the psychologists and neuroscientists say it is too vague for their purposes.
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / f. The Mean
Galen's medicine followed the mean; each illness was balanced by opposite treatment
     Full Idea: Galen ran medicine on the principle of the mean; afflictions must be treated by contraries; hot diseases deserve cold medicine and moist illnesses want drying agents. (Paracelsus rebelled, treating through similarity).
     From: report of Galen (On Medical Experience [c.169]) by Ian Hacking - The Emergence of Probability Ch.5
     A reaction: This must be inherited from Aristotle, with the aim of virtue for the body, as Aristotle wanted virtue for the psuché. In some areas Galen is probably right, that natural balance is the aim, as in bodily temperature control.
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / a. Virtues
Each part of the soul has its virtue - pleasure for appetite, success for competition, and rectitude for reason
     Full Idea: We have by nature these three appropriate relationships, corresponding to each form of the soul's parts - to pleasure because of the appetitive part, to success because of the competitive part, and to rectitude because of the rational part.
     From: Galen (On Hippocrates and Plato [c.170], 5.5.8)
     A reaction: This is a nice combination of Plato's tripartite theory of soul (in 'Republic') and Aristotle's derivation of virtues from functions. Presumably, though, reason should master the other two, and there is nothing in Galen's idea to explain this.