Animal Spirit in an Age of Faith

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:
Animal Spirit in an Age of Faith

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This chapter centers on the development of the animal spirit and Christian thought in relation to both the spirit and knowledge of the material world. It reveals that the enduring doctrine of the animal spirit only came under suspicion towards the end of the 16th and start of the 17th centuries. The discussion first studies the functional divisions of the brain. Here, it refers to the three cavities or ventricles where—based on the accepted medical theory at the time—pneuma was collected before being distributed to the body via the nerves. Next, it studies the impact of Aristotle and the Thomist synthesis, which blended Aristotelian philosophy with Christian doctrine. This chapter also discusses neuroanatomy during the Renaissance and some thinkers who felt the tensions between the newer and older ways of thinking.

Keywords: animal spirit; Christian thought; functional divisions; pneuma; Thomist synthesis; Renaissance; neuroanatomy

Chapter.  16363 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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