The Patient's Knowledge in the Peri Technes


  • Roberto Lo Presti Dep. Aglaia of Greek, Latin and Musical Studies, Tradition and Modernity, University of Palermo, I


Hippocratic medicine, Patient’s knowledge, Relationship doctor/ patient , Visible/invisible


 In two different contexts of the Hippocratic treatise Perì téchnes, the author focuses on the question if the patient is able to elaborate a knowledge on his own illness. He offers two contrasting and, in some scholars’ opinion, opposite points of view about this matter: in fact, in the case of a patient who has won against his own affection without the help of a physician, it is admitted a sort of ‘technicality’ of his praxis and the patient is considered able to discriminate which of his actions contributed for him to be restored to health by distinguishing the chain of causality by which an action is linked to its effect; on the other hand, when the epistemological validity of medicine tout court comes to be under discussion because of a medical treatment which has failed, the author of Perì téchnes attributes to the patients the responsability of these failures, arguing against their inability to obey to medical prescriptions.