Alcmaeon of Croton - Father of Neuroscience? Brain, Mind and Senses in the Alcmaeon’s Study

The aim of this paper is to show Alcmaeon of Croton’s medical views as groundbreaking and exceptionally innovative; some of them, at the general level, are still upto- date. Particular attention was paid to issues related to the human nervous system. Alcmaeon was the first ancient scholar who recognized the human brain as the most important organ in the human body – connected with sensory organs; it was possible because he recognized primarily the construction of the optic nerve. Thus this philosopher initiated the approach to medicine called encephalocentrism. Alcmaeon regarded the brain as a place of intelligent mind, what in antiquity was not a frequent view. He lived in the 6th century BC, so the information about him is remnant. Therefore, reconstruction of his views and activities is extremely difficult. Certainly, this is one of the main reasons why he is not widely known today in the scientific world. But in spite of this, for the sake of his accomplishments, we can call Alcmaeon “the father of neuroscience”.


Adam M Zemelka

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