Descartes' physiology and its relation to his psychology

In John Cottingham (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Descartes. Cambridge University Press. pp. 335--370 (1992)

Authors
Gary Hatfield
University of Pennsylvania
Abstract
Descartes understood the subject matter of physics (or natural philosophy) to encompass the whole of nature, including living things. It therefore comprised not only nonvital phenomena, including those we would now denominate as physical, chemical, minerological, magnetic, and atmospheric; it also extended to the world of plants and animals, including the human animal (with the exception of those aspects of the human mind that Descartes assigned to solely to thinking substance: pure intellect and will). Descartes wrote extensively on physiology and on the physiology and psychology of the senses. This chapter examines the notions of *physiology* and *psychology* in medical and natural philosophical works of Descartes' day; follows his efforts to bring physiology into his mechanistic idiom; considers the relation between physiology of the animal machine and psychological functions that yield functionally appropriate behavior; goes into his physiology and psychology of vision; and elaborates the tension in Descartes' works between his metaphysically supported micro-corpuscularism and his discussion of the animal machine as an organic unity comprising various functionally and teleologically characterized systems. The chapter draws on Descartes' works in both metaphysics and natural philosophy, including his Treatise on Man (originally published as L'Homme, 1664).
Keywords Descartes and medicine  Descartes and physiology  Descartes and psychology  Descartes' theory of vision  Psychophysiology  Descartes and the pineal gland  Descartes and organic machines  Descartes and teleology  Descartes and biology  Treatise on Man
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References found in this work BETA

The Senses and the Fleshless Eye: The Meditations as Cognitive Exercises.Gary Hatfield - 1986 - In Amelie Rorty (ed.), Essays on Descartes' Meditations. University of California Press. pp. 45–76.
Berkeley.George Pitcher - 1977 - Routledge.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Passions of the Soul and Descartes’s Machine Psychology.Gary Hatfield - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1):1-35.

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