Respiratione usus and De arte medica – Two Texts on Medicine by J. Locke

Adam Grzeliński



Several short and unfinished essays that John Locke wrote between the years 1666 – 1669 show his interests in medicine and anatomy. Their analysis reveals the process of shaping of his thought at its early stage, particularly the departure from galenic and paracelsian orthodoxy and his turn towards experience. There are at least two reasons why these fragments draw the attention of contemporary scholars. They cast some light on the relation between Locke’s empiricism and both Sydenham’s clinical approach to medicine and Boyle’s corpuscularianism. Moreover, they also show how in these formative years Locke’s philosophy was influenced by Francis Bacon’s thought.


John Locke; empiricism; history of medicine; Robert Boyle; Thomas Sydenham

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