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Abduction in Akkadian Medical Diagnosis

Cristina Bares Gomez

Ancient medical diagnosis has been studied from different perspectives.
Analysis and translations of texts done by Asiriologists and Physicians
shed the light on ancient practices. Although their works is amazing,
several aspects remain mysterious. I propose here to study Akkadian
medical diagnosis from the perspective of philosophy and argumentation,
and to compare it with the inferences at stake in modern medical diagnosis.
If we focus on inference, without any preconceived thinking about
rationality or irrationality of the Mesopotamians, whether we talk
about science or magic regarding ancient texts, it seems that the
two inferences at stake have the same structure. Modern medical diagnosis,
in some cases or some phases, fits better within an abductive reasoning
than an inductive or a deductive one. The same holds for several examples
of Ancient medical diagnosis I will put forward in this paper. In
these cases, we face abductive inferences that work as ignorance preserving
reasoning. A number of problems are left unsolved and a deeper study
of the inference in Ancient Mesopotamian texts would help us understand
how the medical practice in early medical texts in History works.

16 July 2018






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