HPS Colloquium - Nahyan Fancy. "Challenging the Galenic Theory of Pulse: Ibn al-Nafis (d. 1288) and His Successors"

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Location: Notre Dame Room - LaFortune

Challenging the Galenic Theory of Pulse: Ibn al-Nafis (d. 1288) and His Successors.

Abstract: 

It is traditional to assume that medicine in the Islamicate world never moved beyond Galen in the pre-modern world. Scholars have even claimed that challenges to Galenic anatomy, such as Ibn al-Nafis's proposal of the pulmonary transit of blood, were undertaken by Islamicate physicians while adhering firmly to Galenic physiology. Building upon my earlier work, I shall show that key elements of Galenic physiology, such as his understanding of vital faculty and the pulse, were rejected by both Ibn al-Nafis and his successors--the latter were not only very interested in Ibn al-Nafis's anti-Galenic understanding of pulse, but also engaged with it critically.

Reception to Follow