Alexandria and Hellenistic Psychophysiology

C. U. M. Smith, Eugenio Frixione, Stanley Finger and William Clower

in The Animal Spirit Doctrine and the Origins of Neurophysiology

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199766499
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950263 | DOI:
Alexandria and Hellenistic Psychophysiology

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This chapter takes a look at the evolution of the idea of internal pneumata, specifically the pneuma zootikon and the pneuma psychikon. It notes that there was a “silent period” during the history of animal spirit and discusses Claudius Galen, whose take on animal spirit persisted into the medieval period and beyond. This chapter shows that after the death of Aristotle until the death of Galenin, neuropsychological thought slowly evolved from a loose speculation to a more precise and anatomically grounded science. Furthermore, Galen's work was also revealed to be limited by the technical resources of his times, and the major outlines of his synthesis served as the background of biomedical understanding for the next millennium.

Keywords: internal pneumata; pneuma zootikon; pneuma psychikon; animal spirit; Claudius Galen; Galenin; neuropsychological thought; biomedical understanding

Chapter.  7071 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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