Aristotle’s Cardiac Vessel

  • Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle


This study challenges the criticism that Aristotle’s cardiology failed because his definitive model, a “vessel,” was structural not functional. It researches the shape of Greek vessels as definitively functional. It presents his basic distinction in natural philosophy between containers and contents. It studies his prime example for movement, the amphora of wine, as a dynamic heuristic for the heart as a vessel that discharged its blood supply for bodily distribution. It explains his auxiliary model, the oven for cooking, as a heuristic for the heart’s innate heat expanding the chambers and pulsing the blood through the aorta into the blood vessels for bodily distribution. This cultural analysis of Aristotle’s unexamined vessels argues that his cardiac physiology as far more advanced than acknowledged in medical history.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Medieval StudiesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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