René Descartes

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:
René Descartes

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Neuroscience


Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses René Descartes, who is an essential historical figure. It studies his highly influential work, where he tried to show how human neurophysiology and behavior could be entirely explained using mechanistic terms. It shows that Descartes' neurophysiology imagined that the body's musculature would be activated by “animal spirits” that course down tubular nerves. It determines that his ideas were more related to metaphysics than with physiological and anatomical reality. This chapter also states that Descartes was the first to make all nature inanimate.

Keywords: René Descartes; human neurophysiology; inanimate; mechanistic terms; behavior; musculature; tubular nerves; metaphysics; anatomical reality

Chapter.  6643 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.