Descartes’ Treatise on Man and its Reception

  • Delphine Antoine-Mahut
  • Stephen Gaukroger

Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 43)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Delphine Antoine-Mahut
    Pages 1-29
  3. Editions and Translations of L’Homme

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 31-31
    2. Franco A. Meschini
      Pages 49-62
    3. Stephen Gaukroger
      Pages 63-67
  4. The Early Reception of L’Homme

  5. L’Homme and Early-Modern Anthropology

  6. L’Homme Today

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 267-267
    2. Gary Hatfield
      Pages 269-285
    3. Barnaby R. Hutchins, Christoffer Basse Eriksen, Charles T. Wolfe
      Pages 287-304

About this book


This edited volume features 20 essays written by leading scholars that provide a detailed examination of L’Homme by René Descartes. It explores the way in which this work developed themes not just on questions such as the circulation of the blood, but also on central questions of perception and our knowledge of the world.

Coverage first offers a critical discussion on the different versions of L'Homme, including the Latin, French, and English translations and the 1664 editions. Next, the authors examine the early reception of the work, from the connection of L'Homme to early-modern Dutch Cartesianism to Nicolas Steno's criticism of the work and how Descartes' clock analogy is used to defend two different conceptions of the articulation between anatomical observations and functional hypotheses.

The book then goes on to explore L'Homme and early-modern anthropology as well as the how the work has been understood and incorporated into the works of scientists, physicians, and philosophers over the last 150 years.

Overall, readers will discover how the trend over the last few decades to understand human cognition in neuro-physiological terms can be seen to be not something unprecedented, but rather a revival of a way of dealing with these fundamental questions that was pioneered by Descartes.


Descartes Early-modern medicine Early-modern science Editions and Translations of l’Homme History of physiology Natural philosophy

Editors and affiliations

  • Delphine Antoine-Mahut
    • 1
  • Stephen Gaukroger
    • 2
  1. 1.Département de Sciences HumainesCERPHI, IHRIM, CNRS, UMR 5317. ENS de LyonLyon Cédex 07France
  2. 2.Unit for the History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-46987-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-46989-8
  • Series Print ISSN 0929-6425
  • Series Online ISSN 2215-1958
  • Buy this book on publisher's site