Religion* and philosophy* were major influences on the culture and social structure of the Roman empire. This created hurdles for Galen, but it also paved the way for major medical advancements.
- Religion: “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”2
Reviewed the definition of religion.
Galen began his medical training in a temple dedicated to Asclepius, God of healing. There were 14 deities that included some sort of healing, health or well being in their domain. Of these, were Asclepius’s 2 daughters, Hygeia and Panacea. Also of note was Paean, physician to the gods. These gods and goddesses influenced Galen’s medical career. He was devote. The more he researched human anatomy, the more he believed that a divine hand must have created it. The gods and goddesses also reflect the values of the society of the time. It was an era when medicine was highly valued.
The Asclepions, the temples dedicated to Asclepius, were important figures in the medical world. Despite the new natural approach to medicine, supernatural causes continued to be important and for many continued to be more important. Asclepions served the same role as hospitals. People went there for healing. They engaged in a ritual which included: bathing in the sea, making an offering, sleeping in n abaton (sacred building with a ceiling but no walls) and being anointed by the priests. They believed that Asclepius would visit and heal them while they slept.5,6,9 It is important to note that there are still religions today that do not accept scientific based medicine. There are also religious that will only accept portions of it.
Galen believed that Religion was an important aspect of medicine even though his medical research had a scientific approach. He used astrology charts as part of his diagnostic work up. He also believed that analysis of dreams could reveal the cause for someone’s illness. He believed that science had a divine connection.11 This is an idea that has been recently renewed in American culture. It is the idea that religion and science are not mutually exclusive ideas; that one can live by both at the same time.
In current medical practice, there is a standard that it is important to treat the entire person: “Mind, Body and Soul.” Current medical practice also continues with a philosophical connection in its evaluation of ethics and the development of medical theory. Much of Galen’s approach is still in use today.
Discussion Topic:Why are religious considerations important in medicine?In what ways can religions considerations affect medical practice and research?
Discussed the ways that religion can effect compliance with a treatment plan and the way that a person’s religious practices might effect their treatments. But also discussed the importance of feeling spiritually well. Also talked about the importance of respect between a doctor and their patients.
- Philosophy: “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being,knowledge, or conduct” and “the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them”2
Philosophy played a major role in Galen’s approach to medicine. He structured many of his medical ideas in the same format of the philosophical texts of the time. He believes that the best physicians mixed philosophy with medicine.4,9 Through philosophy, he took a close look at the manner in which science was conducted.9The way in which we conduct medical research is important and is still something that is frequently brought into question today. But for Galen’s part, he was more focused on the scientific method itself.
Discussion Topic: Why is the method of research important?
Greek philosophy stressed the importance of observation. This was something that Hippocrates also stressed. This importance put upon observing the natural world laid solid groundwork for advancements medicine. Going back to the concepts of Hippocrates: observation is important for knowing the symptoms the patient is having, comparing cases for possible treatment options and noting the patient’s status for the purpose of judging prognosis.4 Aristotle and Plato also considered observation a key to understanding the world. They both advocated for dissection of cadavers.*5,9
- Cadaver: “a dead body, especially a human body to be dissected; corpse.”2
Discussion Topic: How is observation important in medical research? (Skipped all this grayed out stuff)
- Science*: “a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws” and “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”2
Talked about how science, religion and philosophy are related. Spent a good amount of time on this topic. Talked about the ways that they are the same and the ways that they are different. Started to talk about why they are so completely interrelated.