Visceral knowledge and the examined life


Warburg Institute, 32, Belsize Park, London NW3 4DX, England


This paper will examine some ways in which philosophical and theological discourse about free will were inflected in the late seventeenth century by the interplay of the new mechanical philosophy and Cartesian versions of dualism on the one hand, with doctrines of the passions and the new atomist physiologists on the other. Both French and English authors will be considered - Bossuet, Malebranche, G. Lamy, and Willis, Boyle, Charleton amongst others - in order to show how even contemporary philosophical speculation about the nature of consciousness can be enriched with an analysis of older, but in an interesting fashion equivalent theories of reflex action and voluntary movement, related as these were to notions about the role of human will in regulating the passions.


Panel 8A   (Nervous Fluids and Innards in Early Modern Physiology and Culture)
Friday, 17 September 1999

The Neurosciences and Psychiatry: Crossing the Boundaries

Joint Congress of the European Association for the History of Psychiatry (EAHP), the European Club for the History of Neurology (ECHN), and the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland, 13-18 September 1999