Early Science and Medicine 22 (2-3):183-207 (2017)

John Wright
Central Michigan University
In this paper I show how what came to be known as “the double law of habit,” first formulated by Joseph Butler in a discussion of moral psychology in 1736, was taken up and developed by medical physiologists William Porterfield, Robert Whytt, and William Cullen as they disputed fundamental questions regarding the influence of the mind on the body, the possibility of unconscious mental processes, and the nature and extent of voluntary action. The paper shows, on a particular topic, the overlap between eighteenth-century philosophical writings on the science of human nature on the one hand,and medical writings and lectures in physiology on the other. Other early modern writers discussed in the paper include René Descartes, Herman Boerhaave and David Hume.
Keywords Enlightenment philosophy and physiology  human nature  science of man  David Hume  Joseph Butler  William Cullen  unconscious mental processes  habit, history of  moral psychology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/15733823-02223p04
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 50,391
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Models of Organic Organization in Montpellier Vitalism.Charles T. Wolfe - 2017 - Early Science and Medicine 22 (2-3):229-252.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Ravaisson and the Force of Habit.Mark Sinclair - 2011 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 49 (1):65-85.
Hume´s Principle.João Paulo Gomes Monteiro - 1999 - Principia: Revista Internacional de Epistemologia 3 (2):165-185.
On Habit.Clare Carlisle - 2014 - Routledge.
Naturalism, Experience, and Hume’s ‘Science of Human Nature’.Benedict Smith - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (3):310-323.
Hume's General Point of View.William Davie - 1998 - Hume Studies 24 (2):275-294.
Hume, History, and Human Nature.S. K. Wertz - 1975 - Journal of the History of Ideas 36 (3):481-496.
Newton of the Mind: An Examination of Hume's Science of Human Nature.Mark David Collier - 1999 - Dissertation, University of California, San Diego


Added to PP index

Total views
30 ( #321,739 of 2,326,153 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #213,215 of 2,326,153 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes