Rene Descartes (1596-1650), A Philosopher Of The 17Th Century,

878 WordsFeb 13, 20174 Pages
Rene Descartes (1596-1650), a philosopher of the 17th century, was notorious for several traits such as a squint fetish, gambling, keeping his address private, and arguably most importantly, his understanding of the mind-body interaction. Descartes found life to be too distracting and began to obtain a reputation of a wanderer, requiring “peace and quiet”(30) for his studies. Descartes’s perception of the mind-body interaction was far from conventional; however, became accepted by many scientists of his time. Descartes’s view of the mind body interaction is supported by other researchers of his day who studied the brain, nerves, and the senses. Scholars have argued for years about how the mind could possibly be distinguished from the…show more content…
The acceptance of Descartes’s theology resulted in processes of inquiry shifting from “subjective metaphysical analysis to objective observation and experimentation”(31). Scientists were now accepting the mind and body as two separate entities that although unambiguous, are able to interact in the human organism. Undoubtfully, Descartes was influenced by the mechanistic zeitgeist of his day which was reflected in the advancement of automata and mechanical clocks. Descartes would spend hours on end toying with different automata including pressure plates causing water jets to activate appliances, activating them to make sounds and move about. “When Descartes described the operation of the human body, he referred directly to the mechanical figures he had seen”(32). Moreover, other researchers’ work supported and contributed to the understanding of Descartes’s view of the mind-body interaction. Hall worked with beheaded animals to observe their movement by stimulating nerve endings. His findings showed that “different levels of behavior arise from different parts of the brain and nervous system”(47). Gall studied protrusions on the surface of the skull that were said to correspond with a behavior or characteristic of that person. Flourens’s research involved meticulously damaging areas of the brains and spinal cords of pigeons and assessing the results. Gall, Hall, and Flourens’s conclusions relate to Descartes’ view of the mind body interaction

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