L’Homme in Psychology and Neuroscience

In Stephen Gaukroger & Delphine Antoine-Mahut (eds.), Descartes' Treatise on Man and Its Reception. New York: Springer. pp. 269–285 (2016)

Gary Hatfield
University of Pennsylvania
L’Homme presents what has been termed Descartes’ “physiological psychology”. It envisions and seeks to explain how the brain and nerves might yield situationally appropriate behavior through mechanical means. On occasion in the past 150 years, this aim has been recognized, described, and praised. Still, acknowledgement of this aspect of Descartes’ writing has been spotty in histories of neuroscience and histories of psychology. In recent years, there has been something of a resurgence. This chapter argues that, in seeking to explain psychological functions such as sense perception, attention, memory, and emotional response, Descartes ascribed a range of active functions to the brain acting on its own (independently of mind).
Keywords Treatise on Man  L'Homme  Mechanisitc psychology  Sensory perception  Attention  Memory  Emotions  Huxley, Thomas Henry  Sherrington, Charles  Canguilhem, Georges
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Man on His Nature.Charles Sherrington - 1940 - Cambridge University Press.

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