Il segno e la prognosi nel "Corpus Hippocraticum" ("Prognostico" e "Prorretico" I e II)

Daniela Fausti


The practice of prognosis in the "Corpus Hippocraticum" is founded on the observation of signs, as prescribed by two methodologically important texts: "Prognostics" and "Prorrhetics" II. The most basic types of sign are non-verbal signs, i.e. clues, since these cannot be altered at will. This type of sign, moreover, produces a hypothetical indication (semiotic abduction) and may, after repeated observations, become a 'proof' (tekmērion), distinct from a simple 'sign' (sēmeion). These key terms and others (e.g., logismos), in conjunction with the verbs associated with them, form a cohesive semantic field that provides the basis for studying prognostic explanatory models. The use of specific verbs or adjectives with prognostic value rationally organizes the observations made by the doctor. "Prorrhetics" I is also discussed, as this is a text in which sign-theory is applied in practice and in which the inferential scheme – because the interest of the work is empirical and descriptive – tends to manifest itself in aphoristic form.

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