CRM: Centro De Giorgi
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The Scientific Revolutions of the 16th and 17th Centuries

seminar: The medical ASSAYER of Marcello Malpighi

speaker: Domenico Bertoloni Meli (Indiana University)

abstract: Between the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century several Italian physicians, notably Gerolamo Sbaraglia, Marcello Malpighi, and Giovanni Battista Morgagni, engaged in a dispute about the the role and significance of recent anatomical findings to therapeutics. My talk focuses on the early part of the dispute and Malpighi's reply to Sbaraglia, which provides a remarkable account, organ by organ, of how the new mechanistic microscopic anatomy affected medical practice. But the dispute had a philosophical and theological significance as well. Embedded in the literary format of Malpighi's work is a coded message that has not yet been deciphered. That message presents Malpighi - then archiater to the Pope - as the Galileo of medicine. At a time when in Rome atomism and the opinions of Galileo, Descartes, and Gassendi were under attack, Malpighi's text provided a powerful defense of atomism and the neoterics.

Sat 5 Nov, 9:30 - 10:30, Sala Conferenze Centro De Giorgi
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