• The exhibition "The Soul is an Octopus. Ancient Ideas of Life and the Body“was situated in Rudolf Virchow’s Präparatesaal in the Medical History Museum | Photo: Christoph Geiger
    Members of the research group prepared and organised an exhibition about ancient medical and philosophical ideas on the soul-body relationship to present results of the group to a larger, non-specialist audience | Photo: C. Geiger
  • Title and beginning of Galen’s De locis affectis in the Laurentianus 74,30; f. 1r (copyright: Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florenz)
    Galen's treatises are important sources of information for philosophy and the history of medicine. The texts were subject of several studies within the research group. New translations with comments and interpretative essays are a milestone for studies on this topic.
  • The conference looked at the concept of pneuma from a number of perspectives and traced changes in the history of ideas of pneuma from the early Hellenistic period to the early Middle Ages
The research group worked at the interface between the history of medicine and philosophy. The group examined how the faculties of the soul and the diseases of mind were localized in ancient times and how these ancient theories have contributed to the concepts of modern times.

The spatial mapping of the body and the soul and their respective faculties can be seen as a part of the philosophical and medical exploration of intra-corporeal spaces. Galen’s theory of the “places of diseases” rests on methods for inferring from diagnostic tests to the location of a “diseased place”. The group reconstructed the theoretical foundations of this method. From a metaphysical point of view, the influential Aristotelian theory of the soul confronted rival theories based on materialist metaphysics. Epicureans, Stoics, and pneuma-theorists concentrate on the nexus between spiritual and corporeal realm. The group worked on editions of the principal source texts, analyze the conceptual framework contained and track its transformations from antiquity through the medieval reception with a focus on the Arabic transmission.


Research Projects