1902 Encyclopedia > Medicine > Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood

(Part 25)

Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood

The influence of Harvey’s discovery began to be felt before the middle of the century. Its merits were recognized by Descartes, among the first, nine years after its publication. For the history of the discovery, and its consequences in anatomy and physiology, we must refer to the article HARVEY. In respect of practical medicine, much less effect was at first noticeable. But this example, combined with the Cartesian principles, set many active and ingenious spirits to work to reconstruct the whole of medicine on a physiological or even a mechanical basis, -- to endeavour to form what we should now call physiological or scientific medicine. The result of this was not to eliminate dogma from medicine though it weakened the authority of the old dogma. The movement led rather to the formation of schools or systems of thought, which under various names lasted on into the 18th century, while the belief in the utility or necessity of schools and systems lasted much longer. The most important of these were the so-called iatro-physical or mechanical and the iatro-chemical schools.

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