Article ID: CBB001321038

Rational and Empirical Medicine in Ninth-Century Baghdad: Qustā Ibn Lūqā's Questions on the Critical Days in Acute Illnesses (2014)


The article considers a brief catechistic presentation of a Galenic medical doctrine, the critical days, by the 9th century translator and thinker, Qus ibn L q (d. 912/3), found in a manuscript in Iran. The piece is first shown to have been derived from Galen's treatise on the critical days. Then, it is discussed section by section, in commentary form, to elucidate the medical doctrines Qus propounds. Lastly, the piece is compared with an earlier attempt, by al-Kind (d. c. 870), to describe the critical days mathematically. The various medical doctrines behind the treatise are discussed, as are the varying approaches to scientific method. The article concludes with contrasting the a priori mathematical scientific method of al-Kind with the a posteriori empirical method of Galen/Qus , and offers suggestions about the chronologies of the appearances of these doctrines and texts in Arabic. A transcription of the Arabic text is appended.

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Authors & Contributors
Pormann, Peter E.
Arrizabalaga, Jon
Cifuentes, Lluís
Garcia Ballester, Lluís
Cabré, Montserrat
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
American Journal of Philology
Cambridge University Press
Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura
Philosophy of medicine
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Disease and diseases
Therapeutic practice; therapy; treatment
Hunain Ibn Ishaq, Abu Zaid, Al-'Ibadi
Ibn Sarabiyun, Yuhanna
al-Rāzī, Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Zakariyyā
Qusṭā Ibn Lūqā al-Baʿlbakī
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Time Periods
9th century
17th century
18th century
Baghdad (Iraq)
Middle and Near East

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