The wikipedia page about experimental research history cites Ibn al-Haytham as an early pioneer of experimental research. Since Galen was the last prominent ancient greek philosophers/doctor and according to his wikipedia page he conducted some medical demonstrations/experiments on animals I am wondering if he philosophized on the theoretical aspects of his demonstrations.

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    $\begingroup$ experiment is a modern scientific "technique". Ancient science was based on observation. $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2020 at 7:01
  • $\begingroup$ The "theory" of experiment is due to Francis Bacon; the first modern significant example are William Harvey and Galileo. $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2020 at 7:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Mauro ALLEGRANZA Although his wikipedia page names his demonstrations experiments I agree with you that the notion of experiment is a relatively modern one. Maybe he phrased some of the theoretical aspects on how he made his demonstrations/observations in a novel way that aided early pioneers of the (proto) experimental method to formulate their own theories on "experimentation". $\endgroup$
    – GEP
    Jul 17, 2020 at 9:32
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    $\begingroup$ Unlike optics, medicine does not lend itself well to experimenting even today: there are too many factors, the subjects are live and can't be freely obtained or manipulated, patterns are obscure and hard to quantify. Galen's approach was broadly Aristotelian, loose observations combined with a priori speculations, see Galen’s Critical Empiricism. Neither of them was a theoretician of experiments, on this front Alhazen got more from Ptolemy's Optics. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Jul 17, 2020 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Conifold I agree with you that "medicine may not lend itself well to experimenting" generally but according to wikipedia Galen did some non trivial "experiments". It seems to me that there were/are some low hanging fruits in medical research .The article that you cite about Galen is not very exhaustive. $\endgroup$
    – GEP
    Jul 17, 2020 at 23:35


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