The Ancient Library

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ings of rationalized experience into agreement with hypotheses touching the nature and dis­eases of man or the things of heaven and earth.

Thus the tract opens: "There are those who have essayed to speak or write concerning medicine, basing their argument on the hot or cold, on the moist or the dry or anything else they choose, reducing the causes of human dis­eases and death to a minimum, one and the same for all, basing their argument on one or two [such causes]; but in many of the novel­ties they utter they are clearly in the wrong. This is the more blameworthy, because they err touching an actual art which all men em­ploy in the greatest emergencies and in which they honor most the skillful practitioners. Now 'there are practitioners, some bad, some excellent; which would not be true if medicine were not actually an art, and no observations or discoveries had been made in it. All would be equally unskilled and ignorant of it, and the cure of diseases would be wholly subject to chance. As a matter of fact, it is not so; but, as artisans in all other arts excel one the other in handicraft and knowledge, so also in medicine.7 Therefore I maintained that it had


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