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This chapter is entitled ‘Galen and the Stoics’ not ‘Galen and Stoicism’. Its chosen title is intended to convey that it is my purpose to approach Galen's relations with the Stoa as it were from the outside. My main concern will not be with his response to the doctrines of great dead Stoics such as Chrysippus, nor with the conceptual relationship between his system of medicine-cum-philosophy (or parts of it) and Stoicism. Instead I shall be focusing on questions of a different kind. What were Galen's relations with the Stoics of his own day? Who were these Stoics? Further, in addition to Stoic persons, books by Stoics are what interest me: which did Galen know and read? Were there other sources of information on Stoic philosophy on which he drew? Answers to these questions will, I believe, contribute to the study of the presence of Stoicism in Galen's work – a vast subject – and on occasion I shall not refrain from indicating how this may be the case. A few words on the state of scholarly debate may serve to justify this approach.
A quick look at the index of sources in von Arnim's Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta, still the standard collection of early Stoic fragments, suffices to show that Galen's dealings with Stoicism were extensive and long-standing. Von Arnim was not mistaken about this. The documented evidence is not only extensive but also variegated in nature, ranging from verbatim quotation to unacknowledged borrowing and allusion.
Galen's concern with methodology - i.e. the theoretical reflection upon scientific and/or philosophical method - leaps from almost every page of his extant work. Time and again he stresses the need to proceed in methodical fashion, attributing the mistakes of others to their lack of training in what he calls the rational or demonstrative method. Demonstration (or proof, apodeixis) is his key term: the ideal physician will accept nothing on authority but waits for the proof or finds it himself if needed. If you expect others to accept your assertions without proof, you behave like a tyrant ordering people about.
Galen devoted several separate treatises to the subject of method. At an early stage in his career (around 160 CE) he composed his methodological chef d'oeuvre On demonstration (hereafter, Dem.) in no less than fifteen books. Regrettably, it has not been preserved, although we can form an overall picture of its contents from references scattered throughout the extant corpus. Of particular relevance are his great works On the Doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato (PHP) and On the Therapeutic Method (MM). PHP books I-VI (composed during Galen's first stay in Rome, 162-6 CE) can be read as an extended demonstration of scientific procedure as applied to issues concerning the soul. Book IX (written after 176) includes a discussion of method, most notably division (diaeresis). MM (in fourteen books), as its title indicates, discusses the method to be used in clinical medicine. Its first two books (written around 175) are more theoretical than the others and based on the methodology advocated in Dem. as well.
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