Although in the sixteenth century some pharmacological powers were widely ascribed to celestial influences, alternative views of the nature of such powers began to be developed: Reductionism, according to which all pharmacological powers could be understood as combinations of the powers of elementary qualities, and emergentism, according to which some pharmacological powers are irreducible to combinations of the powers of elementary but arise out of their combination and interaction. The former view can be traced in the work of Francisco Valles (1524–1592) and Thomas Erastus (1524–1583), the latter view in the work of Girolamo Mercuriale (1530–1606) and Jacob Schegk (1511–1587).
Sixteenth-Century Pharmacology and the Controversy between Reductionism and Emergentism
Perspectives on Science
Volume 26 | Issue 2 | March-April 2018