Chapter 7: Physiologia Gives Birth to Physiology
Chapter 7Physiologia Gives Birth to Physiology
1. Natural philosophy, natural science. Also: a particular system or doctrine of natural science. Obsolete
2. The branch of science that deals with the normal functioning of living organisms and their systems and organs. Also: the functional processes of an organism, organ, or system. Also figurative
– Oxford English Dictionary
7.1 From Physiologia to Physiology
So, if the parts of a complete Medicine are set in order, physiology will be the first of all; it concerns itself with the nature of the wholly healthy human being, all the powers and functions.
– Jean Fernel, Universa medicina (1567)
The beginning of the Scientific Revolution is commonly dated to 1543, with the publication of Nicolaus Copernicus’s De revolutionibus orbium celestium, “On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres” (or “Heavenly Orbs”), which decentered the earth from its ancient, sacrosanct position in the Cosmos – and which, ultimately, signalled that humankind itself has no special place in the natural order of things. In that same year, the highly venerated Andreas Vesalius produced his famous De humani corporis fabrica, “On the Fabric of the Human Body,” which ushered the study of human anatomy into the new “scientific” era. “Traditionally,” as remarked by Ball (2006), these two individuals are glorified as “the scientific Luthers” who “reinvented the outer and the inner worlds of humankind.” The year before the appearance of these two celebrated works, a...
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