Brooke Holmes: "Immanent Intelligence and the Natural Faculties in Galen"

Brooke Holmes (Princeton) 'Immanent Intelligence and the Natural Faculties in Galen' Listen to the talk here.

Abstract for 'Immanent Intelligence and the Natural Faculties in Galen'

One of Galenís basic philosophical commitments is to the Platonic idea of the Demiurge. No other explanation of the intelligent organization of living beings, he argues, is remotely plausible. But how is the rational design of the Demiurge actually realized in matter, not just at the moment of creation but over the course of an organismís life?

In this paper, I examine Galenís treatment of what he calls the natural faculties (physikai dynameis) as the vehicles of immanent intelligence of living beings, paying particular attention to the relationship of the treatise On the Natural Faculties to other later works, such as On My Own Opinions and On the Formation of the Fetus. I am primarily interested in cases where the concept of the natural faculties is strained, such as the moment of conception and at the boundary between animate and inanimate beings. By focusing on these occasions, we can pose the question: How much intelligence does the concept of dynamis sustain in Galen?