Advertisement

Anatomy, Mechanism and Anthropology: Nicolas Steno’s Reading of L’Homme

  • Raphaële AndraultEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 43)

Abstract

Nicolas Steno’s criticism of L’Homme played a major role in the early reception of Cartesianism: from the late 1660s, the Discourse on the Anatomy of the Brain has never ceased being used in order to discredit Descartes’s philosophy. And yet, the anatomical works of Nicolas Steno are themselves informed by Cartesian method. This paradox has led to the depiction of Steno either as a repentant Cartesian or a non-Cartesian mechanist. In this paper, I clarify such problematic labels by studying the different kinds of relationships between anthropology and anatomy that L’Homme may have used to justify. In particular, I show how Descartes’ clock analogy was used to defend two different conceptions of the articulation between anatomical observations and functional hypotheses respectively in La Forge and in Steno.

Keywords

Steno Anatomy Mechanism Functions 

Bibliography

  1. Andrault R. Mathématiser l’anatomie: la myologie de Stensen. Early Sci Med. 2010;15(4–5):505–36.Google Scholar
  2. Andrault R. La vie selon la raison. Physiologie et métaphysique chez Spinoza et Leibniz. Paris: Champion; 2014.Google Scholar
  3. Andrault R. La raison des corps. Mécanisme et sciences médicales. Paris: Vrin; 2016.Google Scholar
  4. Ariew R. Descartes and the first cartesians. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bartholin T. Anatomia ex Caspari Bartholini parentis Institutionibus, omniumque recentiorum et propriis observationibus, tertium ad sanguinis circulationem reformata, cum iconibus novis accuratissimis. Lugdunum Batavorum: Franciscum Hackium; 1651.Google Scholar
  6. Bartholin T. Anatome ex omnium veterum recentiorumque observationibus imprimis Institutionibus b. m. parentis Harvejanam, et vasa lymphatica quartum renovata. Lugdunum Batavorum: ex Officina Hackiana; 1673.Google Scholar
  7. Bitbol-Hespériès A. Cartesian physiology. In: Gaukroger S, Schuster J, Sutton J, editors. Descartes’ natural philosophy. New York: Routledge; 2000.Google Scholar
  8. Brown H. Scientific organizations in seventeenth-century France (1620–1680). Baltimore: William & Wilkins Cie; 1934.Google Scholar
  9. Canguilhem G. Knowledge of life. In: Marrati P, Meyers T, editors. (trans: Geroulanos S). New York: Fordham University Press; 2008.Google Scholar
  10. Chapelain J. Lettres. In: Laroque T, editor. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale; 1883.Google Scholar
  11. Cummins R. Functional analysis. J Philos. 1975;72:741–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cunningham A. The pen and the sword: recovering the disciplinary identity of physiology and anatomy before 1800. Old physiology – the pen. Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2002;33:631–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cunningham A. Old anatomy – the sword. Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2003;34:51–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Descartes R. De Homine, figuris et latinitate donatus a Florentio Schuyl. Lugdunum Batavorum: Petrum Leffen & Franciscum Moyardum; 1662.Google Scholar
  15. Descartes R. L’homme de René Descartes et un Traité de la formation du fœtus du même auteur, avec les remarques de Louis de la Forge. Paris: Charles Angot; 1664.Google Scholar
  16. Descartes R. Œuvres. New presentation by B. Rochot and P. Costabel. In: Adam C, Tannery P, editors. Paris: Vrin-CNRS; 1964–1974.Google Scholar
  17. Descartes R. Philosophical essays and correspondence. In: Ariew R, editor. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett; 2000.Google Scholar
  18. Descartes. The world and other writings. (trans. and editor Gaukroger S). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2004.Google Scholar
  19. De Houdeville, editor. Journal des savants, I (1665–6), Amsterdam: Pierre Le Grand; 1685.Google Scholar
  20. Gabbey A. What was ‘mechanical’ about The mechanical philosophy ? In: Palmerino CP, Thijssen JMMH, editors. The reception of the Galilean science of motion in seventeenth-century. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers; 2004. p. 11–23.Google Scholar
  21. Gaukroger S, Schuster J, Sutton J, editors. Descartes’ natural philosophy. New York: Routledge; 2000.Google Scholar
  22. Gaukroger S. The resources of a mechanist physiology and the problem of goal-directed processes. In: Gaukroger S, Schuster J, Sutton J, editors. Descartes’ natural philosophy. New York: Routledge; 2000. p. 383–400.Google Scholar
  23. Grell OP. Between anatomy and religion: the conversions to Catholicism of the two Danish anatomists Nicolas Steno and Jacob Winsløw. In: Grell OP, Cunningham A, editors. Medicine and religion in enlightenment Europe. Aldeshot: Ashgate; 2007. p. 205–21.Google Scholar
  24. Guenancia P. La signification de la technique dans le Discours de la méthode. In: Méchoulan H, editor. Problématique et réception du Discours de la méthode et des Essais. Paris: Vrin; 1988. p. 213–23.Google Scholar
  25. Huygens C. œuvres complètes. In: Société hollandaise des Sciences, editor. Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff; 1880–1950.Google Scholar
  26. La Forge, Louis de. Traité de l’esprit de l’homme et de ses facultés et foncitons et de son union avec le corps suivant les principes de René Descartes, Paris: Theodor Girard, 1666.Google Scholar
  27. La Forge Louis de. Treatise on the human mind. (editor and trans. Clarke D). Dordrecht: Springer; 1997.Google Scholar
  28. Leibniz GW. Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag; 1923.Google Scholar
  29. Perrault C. œuvres de physique et de mécanique de Mrs. C. & P. Perrault, de l’académie royaledes sciences et de l’académie française. Amsterdam: chez J.-F. Bernard; 1727.Google Scholar
  30. Roger J. Les sciences de la vie dans la pensée française du XVIIIe siècle. La génération des animaux de Descartes à l’Encyclopédie. Paris: Armand Colin; 1993.Google Scholar
  31. Roux S. Was there a Cartesian experimentalism in 1660s France? In: Dobre M, Nyden T, editors. Cartesian empiricisms. Dordrecht: Springer; 2013a. p. 47–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Roux S. Quelles machines pour quels animaux? Jacques Rohault, Claude Perrault, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli. In: Gaillard A, Goffi J-Y, Roukhomovsky B, Roux S, editors. L’automate. Machine, métaphore, modèle, erveille. Pessac: Presses universitaires de Bordeaux; 2013b.Google Scholar
  33. Roux S, Garber D. Introduction. In: Roux S, Garber D, editors. The mechanization of natural philosophy. Dordrecht: Springer; 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Salomon-Bayet C. L’institution de la science et l’expérience du vivant. Paris: Flammarion; 1978.Google Scholar
  35. Schiller J, Théodoridès J. Sténon et les milieux scientifiques parisiens. In: Scherz G, editor. Steno and brain research in the seventeenth century. Oxford: Pergamon Press; 1968.Google Scholar
  36. Spinoza B. Complete works. In: Morgan ML.(trans: Shirley S). Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett; 2002.Google Scholar
  37. Sprengel K. Versuch einer Pragmatischen Geschichte der Arzneikunde. Vierter Theil. Halle: bei Johann Jacob Gebauer; 1801.Google Scholar
  38. Steno N. Elementorum myologiae specimen seu Musculi descriptio geometrica. Florentiae: ex Typographia sub signo Stellae; 1667.Google Scholar
  39. Steno N. Discours sur l’anatomie du cerveau. Paris: Robert de Ninville; 1669a.Google Scholar
  40. Steno N. De Solido intra Solidum naturaliter contento dissertationis Prodromus. Florentiae: ex Typographia sub signo Stellae; 1669b.Google Scholar
  41. Steno N. Opera theologica. In: Larsen K., Scherz G, editors. Hafniae: A. Busck; 1944.Google Scholar
  42. Steno N. Epistolae et epistolae ad eum datae, quas cum prooemia ac notis germanice scriptis. In: Scherz G, editor. Hafniae: A. Busck; 1952.Google Scholar
  43. Steno N. Lecture on the anatomy of the brain. In: Scherz G, editor. Hafniae: A. Busck; 1965.Google Scholar
  44. Steno N. Chaos-manuscript, Copenhagen 1659. (complete edition editor and trans. Ziggelaar A). Copenhagen: Munksgaard; 1997.Google Scholar
  45. Steno N. Discours sur l’anatomie du cerveau. In: Andrault R, editor. Paris: Classiques Garnier; 2009.Google Scholar
  46. Steno N. Nicolaus Steno: biography and original papers of a 17th century scientist. In: Kardel T, Maquet P, editors. Berlin: Springer; 2013.Google Scholar
  47. Tolmer LJAL. Pierre-Daniel Huet, humaniste physicien. Bayeux: Colas; 1949.Google Scholar
  48. Totaro P. ‘Ho certi amici in Ollandia’: Stensen and Spinoza – science verso faith. In: Ascani K, Kermit H, Skytte G, editors. Niccolo Stenone. Anatomista, geologo, vescovo. Rome: L’Erma; 2002. p. 27–38.Google Scholar
  49. Wilson C. The invisible world: early modern philosophy and the invention of the microscope. Princeton University Press: Princeton; 1995.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IHRIM, CNRS, UMR 5317. ENS de LyonLyon Cedex 07France

Personalised recommendations