Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Harvey, William

Born: 1578, Folkestone
Died: 1657, London
  • Gaetano ThieneEmail author
  • Cristina Basso
  • Daniela Marrone
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_398-1


The natural philosopher William Harvey was born in Folkestone on April 1, 1578. He studied at the Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge, and from 1597 he focused attention on medicine. In 1599 he moved to the University of Padua, where he was enrolled in Medicine. After the graduation on April 25, 1602, he came back to London and obtained the acknowledgment of the title and the professional license in Cambridge. In 1607 he was promoted Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, and in 1609 he was enrolled as physician at the St. Barholomew’s Hospital. In 1618, King James I nominated Harvey as his physician. At the Royal College with the Lumleian Lectures, Harvey presented his preliminary ideas on the revolutionary theory of blood circulation that was summarized in the book Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus (Frankfurt 1628) dedicated to his patron King Charles I. Harvey, aged 71 years, retired from public life and devoted himself entirely to his studies. In 1651 he published De generatione animalium where he advanced the theory of epigenesis. On June 3, 1657, at the age of 79, he died of cerebral apoplexy.

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Primary Sources

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaetano Thiene
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cristina Basso
    • 1
  • Daniela Marrone
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular SciencesUniversity of Padua Medical SchoolPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Linguistic and Literary StudiesUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hiro Hirai
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the History of Philosophy and ScienceRadboud Universiteit NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands