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XX. Certain physicians and philosophers assert that nobody can know medicine who is ignorant what a man is ; he who would treat patients properly must, they say, learn this. But the question they raise is one for philosophy ; it is the province of those who, like Empedocles, have written on natural science,1 what man is from the beginning, how he came into being at the first, and from what elements he was originally constructed. But my view is, first, that all that philosophers or physicians have said or written on natural science no more pertains to medicine than to painting.2 I also hold that clear knowledge about natural science can be acquired from medicine and from no other source, and that one can attain this knowledge when medicine itself has been properly comprehended, but till then it is quite impossible--I mean to possess this information, what man is, by what causes he is made, and similar points accurately. Since this at least I think a physician must know, and be at great pains to know, about natural science, if he is going to perform aught of his duty, what man is in relation to foods and drinks,

[p. 55] and to habits generally, and what will be the effects of each on each individual. It is not sufficient to learn simply that cheese is a bad food, as it gives a pain to one who eats a surfeit of it ; we must know what the pain is, the reasons for it, and which constituent of man is harmfully affected. For there are many other bad foods and bad drinks, which affect a man in different ways. I would therefore have the point put thus :--"Undiluted wine, drunk in large quantity, produces a certain effect upon a man." All who know this would realise that this is a power of wine, and that wine itself is to blame,3 and we know through what parts of a man it chiefly exerts this power. Such nicety of truth I wish to be manifest in all other instances. To take my former example, cheese does not harm all men alike ; some can eat their fill of it without the slightest hurt, nay, those it agrees with are wonderfully strengthened thereby. Others come off badly. So the constitutions of these men differ, and the difference lies in the constituent of the body which is hostile to cheese, and is roused and stirred to action under its influence. Those in whom a humour of such a kind is present in greater quantity, and with greater control over the body, naturally suffer more severely. But if cheese were bad for the human constitution without exception, it would have hurt all. He who knows the above truths will not fall into the following errors.

1 About "nature," how the universe was born and grew out of primal elements. We might almost trauslate φὐς1ις2 by "evolution."

2 Or, perhaps, "pertains even less to medicine than to literature."

3 See Appendix on p. 64.

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