Left: Aristotelian and Medieval understanding of five senses leading to the heart and the common sense. From a pen drawing added by an unknown English scholar to the chapter on sensation in G. de Hardewyck’s work on Aristotle, c. 1496; Source: Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London| Centre: Model of the head and brain specimen preserved in liquid, Source: Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité; photo: Th. Bruns, Berlin | Right: Cerebral localization of mental functions in Gehirn after Qusta ibn Luqa (864-923 CE), based on the work of Nemesius, illustrated manuscript, early 14th century, Source: Cambridge University Library, Cambridge ms Gr.g.1.1

Left: Aristotelian and Medieval understanding of five senses leading to the heart and the common sense, in G. de Hardewyck’s work on Aristotle, c. 1496; Source: Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London| Centre: Model of the head and brain specimen preserved in liquid, Source: Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité; photo: Th. Bruns, Berlin | Right: Cerebral localization of mental functions in Gehirn after Qusta ibn Luqa (864-923 CE), Source: Cambridge University Library, Cambridge ms Gr.g.1.1

The research group works at the interface between the history of medicine and philosophy. The group examines how the faculties of the soul and the diseases of mind were localized in ancient times and how these ancient theories have contributed to the concepts of modern times. The spatial mapping of the body and the soul and their respective faculties can be seen as a part of the philosophical and medical exploration of intra-corporeal spaces. Galen’s theory of the “places of diseases” rests on methods for inferring from diagnostic tests to the location of a “diseased place”. The group will reconstruct the theoretical foundations of this method. From a metaphysical point of view, the influential Aristotelian theory of the soul confronted rival theories based on materialist metaphysics. Epicureans, Stoics, and pneuma-theorists concentrate on the nexus between spiritual and corporeal realm. The group will work on editions of the principal source texts, analyze the conceptual framework contained and track its transformations from antiquity through the medieval reception with a focus on the Arabic transmission.

 

 

Research Projects

Dissertations