Paduan Aristotelianism and the Birth of Experimental Medicine

Enrico Berti


Padua University was the place of the scientific revolution not only for astronomy and mechanics with Galilei, but also and most of all for medicine. Here the traditional Aristotelianism created the favourable conditions for the discovery of blood circulation by W. Harvey, because of the strict connection established by Aristotle between medicine and philosophy of nature, the importance attributed to empirical observation, carefully and systematically pursuited, the primacy of the heart among other body organs and the attention payed to the function of various organs. The defect of these conditions was the cause of some Descartes' errors concerning blood circulation, which were avoided by Harvey.

Keywords: Aristotele - Descartes - Harvey - Heart.

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