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A reconstruction of the hippocratic humoral theory of health


The model underlying the hippocratic humoral theory, as well as the corresponding part of hippocratic aetiology is reconstructed in precise, structuralist terms. Stress is laid on the presentation of the model, historical and philological derivations are suppressed. The global net structure of humoral theory in which the different diseases are described as specializations of the basic model is worked out, and the particular metatheoretical features of ‘therapeutical’ theories, as contrasted to ‘descriptive’ theories, are exemplified and stated in general.

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Balzer, W., Eleftheriadis, A. A reconstruction of the hippocratic humoral theory of health. Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 22, 207–227 (1991).

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Key words

  • medical theory
  • theoretical medicine
  • humoral pathology
  • axiomatization
  • structuralism
  • model theory