Doctors of Philosophy: Huarte de San Juan, Pereira and Sabuco de Nantes

the medical philosophers they are independent thinkers of medical training, who assume the Hippocratic-Galenian doctrine of typological differences based on constitution and temperament as the causes of psychological behavior.

Medical Philosophers: A Summary of Their Lives and Contributions

Below we will meet several of those medical philosophers who in the late Middle Ages and into the modern era.

1. Gómez Pereira (1500-1560)

Gómez Pereira was a Castilian physician who can be considered a forerunner, almost a century in advance, of Descartes. In her work “Antoniana Margarita”, she makes thought the essence of the soul and defends the automatism of animals. The following sentence, prior to the famous Cartesian “cógito”, can give an idea: “I know that I know a little, and who knows that it exists: I exist so much”.

2. Olive Sabuco from Nantes

Oliva’s work “New Philosophy of the Nature of Man” (1587) was attributed to her father, Miquel, who was blind, which gives an idea of ​​the uniqueness of a woman signing a scientific work.

It is written in the form of a conference between three pastors and can be considered as a treatise on the passions and their relation to physiological life. He establishes psycho-somatic or psycho-physiological interaction as an explanation for all kinds of human behavior. He also argues for the effectiveness of verbal therapy alongside other organic therapies.

3. Juan Huarte de San Juan (1529-1585)

Patron of psychology in our country, is one of the Spanish authors who obtained a major universal projection by his work “Examination of I design for ciencias”, published in 1575. The work of Huarte has been translated into Latin, English, French, Italian and Dutch, republished in some of these languages.

Part of the doctrine that all souls are equal, being the cerebral temperament the cause of the different capacities of man, according to the predominance in him of the primary qualities (Heat, humidity and drought). Dryness promotes wisdom or intelligence, moistens memory and warms the imagination.

Huarte describes himself as a “natural philosopher” and, as such, wants to seek the particular causes of any effect. While recognizing that God is the ultimate cause, he is interested in natural causes and avoids explanations of a supernatural nature. It will be up to the scientist to discover the cause and effect relationship between things “for there are ordered and manifest causes from which this effect can arise”.

Huarte is an empiricist thinker. He therefore adopts the posture Aristotelian-Thomist by defending the idea that if souls are equal, individual differences arise because of the difference between bodies. Matter is thus constituted in the principle of differentiation. Huarte rejects the previous existence of a soul capable of knowing Ideas. He recognizes, however, that the soul – both in its rational aspect and in the sensitive and vegetative aspect – is wise, without being taught by anyone. It establishes an instrument of mediation in the brain regarding the capacities of the soul, which affects all kinds of skills.

He is the creator of a first evolutionary psychology by admitting that the temperament of childhood is more suitable for sensitive and vegetative souls than for the rational to gradually acquire a temperament more inclined to imagine, understand and remember. Among the elders, understanding dominates because they have a lot of dryness and little humidity, the shortage causes poor memory, while in the young the opposite would happen to them, for this reason childhood would be more conducive to learning. languages, an activity which, according to Huarte, depends on memory.

Huarte can also be considered a pioneer of the eugenics, Since the temperament would depend on the seed of the parents and, later, on the regime of life.

The notion of temperament goes back to Greek thinkers. Hippocrates, In the 5th century BC, explains health as the balance of four humors: blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm. If heat and humidity (air) predominate, it results in a bloody temper. If cold and drought (earth), peculiar to phlegm, the phlegmatic; if the heat and dryness (fire), proper to yellow bile, the temperament will be angry, and if the cold and humidity of black bile (water) predominate, the temperament will be melancholy. (See Table 1).

Huarte combines the Hippocratic theory of moods with the powers of the “rational soul” established by Aristotle: memory, imagination and understanding.

The memory passively receives and holds data. For the brain to be a good instrument of this faculty, the brain must predominate in it. humidity. The imaginative, according to the Aristotelian notion, is that which writes the figures of things in memory, and is responsible for introducing them and recovering them from memory. For the brain to be a good instrument of this faculty, heat must predominate: “The heat lifts the figures and boils them, where everything we see is discovered”.

Understanding needs the brain to be dry and made up of very subtle and delicate parts. These are comprehension tasks for inferring, distinguishing and choosing.

These three powers are mutually exclusive: with memory and the predominance of humidity, understanding is lost, which needs dryness and warmth, and vice versa. The one who has a big imagination will not be able to have much understanding either, because the heat which one needs “consumes the most delicate thing of the brain and leaves it dry and hard”.

Huarte refutes Cicero’s view that all the arts could be achieved through study, as they are based on principles that can be learned. for Huarte there are three types of ingenuity: The intelligent, the memorable and the imaginative. Every profession, on the other hand, will require a certain type of ingenuity.

A preacher needs understanding to come to the truth, memory to quote sentences from others, and a good imagination to know how to teach eloquently and get attention, so a good preacher must have great understanding and a lot of knowledge. ‘imagination. However, as a great imagination predisposes to pride, throat and lust, he recommends that the preacher not be too imaginative, as he could incur evil and draw it towards the faithful.

A good lawyer or judge will need a great memory to learn the many laws and a good understanding to distinguish, infer, reason and choose.. Although it is always better for a lawyer to have a lot of understanding and little memory on the contrary.

Medicine also needs a good understanding and a good memory, although it requires the imagination of the clinical eye, the guesswork of medicine, fully understanding the causes and cures for each patient.

Military commerce requires a certain malice for which a special kind of imagination is required, which confers the ability to guess the “deceptions that lurk”. In his opinion, the game of chess is one of the most developed imaginative ones.

The function of king would finally find its ideal temperament in a “temperate man“That is, with a balanced or balanced temperament. This is accompanied by golden hair with age, and grace, grace and good figure. Other signs of this temperament are virtue and good manners….

If cold and humidity predominate in the generated body, it will be a woman. In his life, he will show badly the qualities that the soul possesses in the highest degree. If heat and drought prevail, instead a man will be born, the qualities will be skill and ingenuity. Variations in bodily temperament derive the greater or less awkwardness of the woman and the greater or lesser ingenuity and skill of the man.

Huarte collects from Aristotle the idea that desire, imagination and movements during the carnal act contribute to begetting good children. According to this doctrine, wise parents have Usually foolish children, because they are clumsy for intercourse, while foolish and instinctive parents, being more skillful, can beget ingenious children.

Huarte is considered a pioneer in different fields: for Menéndez Pelayo is the father of phrenology; can also be seen as a predecessor of the differential psychology and career guidance and selection. He is also a pioneer, as we have said, of eugenics and the psychology of ages.

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