The Galen Project


How Galen used doxographical schemas

A recent paper by prof. Tieleman focusses on the way
Galen used doxographical schemas, schemas by which Galen
collected and analyzed positions of his predecessors. It can be
shown that Galen predominantly used the Placita tradition in
analyzing the views of his predecessors. In this tradition,
(parts of) works are summarized and organized by the author
by the way predecessors answered (philosophical) questions.
Galen seems to have chosen for this tradition on the ground of
two reasons. Firstly, to be able to distinguish between useless
and useful topics. And, secondly, to conclude which method
in natural philosophy and medicine is the most promising in
reaching right conclusions. By using this method, Galen
established a handy toolkit for himself. It enabled him to
implement the views of the ancients in his medical practice.
After using this method, he could indeed quickly select
schemas from his predecessors for use.

Blog on the paper:
‘Galen and Doxography,’ in J. Mansfeld & D. Runia, eds. Aëtiana IV: Papers of the Melbourne Colloquium on Ancient Doxography (Leiden: Brill 2018) 452-471.