Animal Spirit in Action

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 Action

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses the changes and elaboration of the animal spirit doctrine by the foremost biomedical thinkers of the 18th century. It reviews Georg Ernst Stahl's animistic ideas, which were inadequate and moved back to a more mechanistic physiology. It then introduces Herman Boerhaave, who is also called the teacher of Europe. The rest of the chapter focuses on Boerhaave's deep and detailed summary of early-18th-century work on the physiology and anatomy of the neuromuscular system. Finally, this chapter also reviews several relevant figures in 18th-century biomedicine and some electrical theories of the 19th century.

Keywords: animal spirit doctrine; biomedical thinkers; Georg Ernst Stahl; animistic ideas; mechanistic physiology; Herman Boerhaave; neuromuscular system; 18th century biomedicine; electrical theories

Chapter.  13931 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.