Hippocratic reductionism

Hippocrates (on epilepsy)
The famous Hippocratic reductionism quote (Ѻ), wherein Hippocrates points out that many in his day viewed epilepsy “divine”, whereas we now understand that epilepsy results from a number of physical conditions in the brain and that no one, in modern countries, no longer, invokes “god” as the cause. Hippocrates asserts that this reductionism of god to zero will be the case for all previous unknown cause phenomena.
In science, Hippocratic reductionism is the postulate, made by Hippocrates (c.400BC), that people invoke the divine for things they are ignorant about, but that once one comes to understand the phenomena or the cause of the effect, then they cease to call it divine; according to which, as knowledge progresses, via increasing reductionism, divine explanations will cease to be used as a functional explanatory patch.

Overview
In circa 410BC, Greek physical philosopher Hippocrates began to question the standing premise of invoking “gods” as causal explanations of diseases; the following is one example statement of this:

“Is there supernatural in disease?”
— Hippocrates (400BC), On the Sacred Disease; ruminated on by Jean Fernel, 1548; cited by Charles Sherrington, 1938 [1]

Sometime thereafter, Hippocrates deduced, somehow, that diseases are caused “naturally”, the reason for most of which can be determined readily; thereafter he extended this reasoning to posit that someday, when knowledge of the workings and operation of the universe reached a more enlightened state, people would cease to call things divine; the main statement of this reasoning is as follows:

“Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. We will one day understand what causes it, and then cease to call it divine. And so it is with everything in the universe.”
— Hippocrates (c.400BC), popular atheism quote

We now understand, correctly, that epilepsy results from a number of conditions or causes, such as genes, abnormal brain structure at birth, head injury, stroke, among others, e.g. 30 percent of epilepsy cases have a change in the structure of their brains that causes the electrical storms of seizures (Ѻ); no one, in modern countries, however, invokes “god” as the cause. Hippocrates asserts that this reductionism of god to zero will be the case for all previous unknown cause phenomena.

See also
● Critias hypothesis

References
1. (a) Sherrington, Charles. (1938). Man on His Nature (pg. 5). Cambridge University Press, 1950.
(b) On the Sacred Disease – Wikipedia.

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