An Analytic Theory of Health: The Biostatistical Theory (BST)

  • Lennart Nordenfelt
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 26)


In classical speculation on medical matters health is conceived of as a bodily state which is in accordance with Nature. It is a state of natural balance in the mixture (complexio) of the primary qualities of the human body. According to Aristotle’s and later Galen’s teaching, the human body consists of the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. These elements derive their properties from the four primary qualities: hot and cold, wet and dry. The four elements are said to arise out of primary matter by the action of the active qualities (the hot or the cold) on the passive qualities (the wet or the dry). The primary qualities form homogeneous bodies of different kinds. The homogeneous bodies, in their turn, form through various combinations heterogeneous bodies. The properties of the latter are the secondary qualities, such as quantity, size and weight. The homogeneous parts of animals are the tissues. The heterogeneous parts are the organs.


Bodily State Analytic Theory Functional Ability Homogeneous Body Primary Quality 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lennart Nordenfelt
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Health and SocietyUniversity of LinköpingSweden

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