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Aux limites de l’explication : le rôle de la sympathie chez Galien

Aux limites de l’explication : le rôle de la sympathie chez Galien AbstractThis paper aims to assess the epistemological value of the notion of sympathy in Galen’s thought. It first shows that Galen makes use of two different concepts of sympathy: the ambient concept, according to which the human body manifests a harmonious part-whole relationship, and the technical concept, with which one connects two pathologies on the basis of the fact that the cause of the ailment is elsewhere than where it surfaces. Neither of these sympathies constitutes in itself a causal explanation of reality. The first merely acknowledges an obvious interrelationship, the second acts as an epistemic tool to shift the focus of diagnosis away from the place where the condition manifests itself. However, the two concepts are not absolutely unrelated; and they come together when the sympathetic paradigm is used to understand the unifying action of the psychic and natural faculties. Very significantly, Galen then provisionally defines the cause as a power or faculty (δύναμις) not out of theoretical necessity but for practical reasons. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Elenchos de Gruyter

Aux limites de l’explication : le rôle de la sympathie chez Galien

Elenchos , Volume 42 (1): 26 – Aug 26, 2021

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
0392-7342
eISSN
2037-7177
DOI
10.1515/elen-2021-0009
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThis paper aims to assess the epistemological value of the notion of sympathy in Galen’s thought. It first shows that Galen makes use of two different concepts of sympathy: the ambient concept, according to which the human body manifests a harmonious part-whole relationship, and the technical concept, with which one connects two pathologies on the basis of the fact that the cause of the ailment is elsewhere than where it surfaces. Neither of these sympathies constitutes in itself a causal explanation of reality. The first merely acknowledges an obvious interrelationship, the second acts as an epistemic tool to shift the focus of diagnosis away from the place where the condition manifests itself. However, the two concepts are not absolutely unrelated; and they come together when the sympathetic paradigm is used to understand the unifying action of the psychic and natural faculties. Very significantly, Galen then provisionally defines the cause as a power or faculty (δύναμις) not out of theoretical necessity but for practical reasons.

Journal

Elenchosde Gruyter

Published: Aug 26, 2021

Keywords: action at a distance; Galen; physiology; power; sympathy

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