Saturday, July 30, 2022

What was Alcmaeon known for?

According to Herodotus, the city of Croton in the south of Italy was famous as a center for medicine. And so perhaps it is no surprise this was the home of one of the ancient world's most famous philosophers of medicine, Alcmaeon.

He was among the first physicians and physiologists at the pre-Hippocratic medicine with contradictions and oscillating doctrines in the 6th century BC.

Alcmaeon, Greek philosopher and physiologist, known as the first person recorded to have practiced dissection of human bodies for research purposes. He may also have been the first to attempt vivisection.

Alcmaeon broke with this theological understanding of illness. His most significant innovation was that he produced a systematic theory of sickness and health that had no need for the gods.

He was the first person in the Greek tradition to argue that the brain was the seat of thought and to distinguish understanding from perception. Alcmaeon thought that the sensory organs were connected to the brain by channels (poroi) and may have discovered the poroi connecting the eyes to the brain (i.e. the optic nerve) by excising the eyeball of an animal, although it is doubtful that he used dissection as a standard method.

He published one book in the late sixth or first half of the fifth century BCE. Only two or three fragments of the book survive, but substantial reports of his views are preserved in authors such as Theophrastus.
What was Alcmaeon known for?

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