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  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: March 2008

18 - Philosophy, science and medicine

This chapter discusses the study of philosophy, mathematics, geometry, astronomy, astrology, anatomy and medicine in the Hellenistic age. The mathematicians proceeded with their work without any explicit adhesion to philosophical doctrines or any reply to the theoretical and epistemological problems raised by the Epicureans and the sceptics when dealing with mathematics. Archimedes, in his writing on theorems of mechanics, conceives discovery as the attainment of knowledge or a true conclusion by deduction from premisses which have also been drawn from mechanics, and distinguishes it from proper demonstration using geometrical principles. The Stoics saw the regularity of the movements of the celestial bodies, demonstrated by the astronomers, as confirmation of the divine order of the universe and the power of the stars over what happened on earth. Medicine in the ancient world was criss-crossed with other theories, often radical ones, about the character of medical knowledge and the roads leading to it.
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The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy
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