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Gynecology in Ancient Greece

This research examines the topic of gynecology in ancient Greece, with a particular focus on the doctor Soranus, who in the early common era wrote a book on the subject. The research will set forth the historical and cultural context in which Soranus produced his text and then discuss the content of his theory and the relevance of his work to modern approaches to gynecological theory and practice.

The explosion of scientific and medical knowledge made possible by the ability to confirm through experimentation and highly specialized instrumentation theories about how the human organism functions obscures the fact that in the prescientific era, which extends virtually from the prehistoric era through the lifetime of Galileo and beyond, science, medicine, and philosophy overlapped and converged. Ihde (6) comments that before the 19th century, "it was often difficult to distinguish philosophy from science. What we would roughly call natural science today was, in early modern times . . . natural philosophy." One need not make a case for the reliability of scientific and medical theory of the ancient period to see the implications of characterizing practical science as natural philosophy. Such a characterization speaks to the moral seriousness attending whatever engagement with technical proficiency a practitioner might bring to the business of providing medical treatment to a patient.

Why that aspect of ancient medical practice assumes relevance for modern discourse is that in many ways the moral content of even the most technical medical research and practice has never been entirely purged. What makes such content resonate differently in the scientific as opposed to the prescientific age is that it has often been attached to public-policy advocacy regarding technical attributes of medicine. The moral weight of such advocacy, not infrequently translated into policy implementation, has proceeded from its supposed certainty--even (or pe...

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Gynecology in Ancient Greece. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:46, May 21, 2019, from