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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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Harvey and the Magna Carta

Harvey and the Magna Carta

Chapter:
67 Harvey and the Magna Carta
Source:
What Is Medicine?
Author(s):

Paul U. Unschuld

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0067

William Harvey (1578–1657) worked as an anatomist, carried out animal experiments, and was interested in life in the embryonic state. He asked many questions about nature and the organism. He learned about circulation as the ideal form of movement from Aristotle and also learned about the path of water. He also knew about alchemists and their distillations. He knew about the dominant role of the heart in the organism. He knew that the septum of the heart is impermeable, and he had learned that there is a lung circulation from Michael Serveto and Realdo Colombo. He knew that warmth sets things into movement, while cold leads to rigidity and solidification. He transferred, intentionally or not, the Magna Carta from English constitutional reality onto the constitution of the human organism. He focused on the circulation and the movement of the heart. He wrote an important work, De motu cordis, but he did not mention the soul even a single time.

Keywords:   animal experiments, embryonic state, solidification, movement of the heart, De motu cordis, soul

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