Skip to main content

Appetite in Early Modern Science and Medicine

  • 67 Accesses

Introduction

In the Western tradition, theologians and philosophers often discussed the appetite for food within the larger frame of the “sensual appetites,” thereby associating the desire to eat with error, folly, or sin. At the same time, a parallel discourse addressed the origin and character of appetite as a natural function. The latter frequently entailed consideration of the mind-body relation; indeed the question of whether appetite was a corporal or psychic phenomenon was almost always integral to discussions of the urge to eat. As the early modern era unfolded, the moral dimensions of the desire to eat drew less attention, while questions of how appetite worked and the role it played in health and disease became more prominent. Amid this process, a significant shift occurred in thinking about the nature and functioning of appetite. From antiquity to the eighteenth century, observers who commented on appetite saw it as highly individual in character and as the most reliable, or...

Related Topics

  • Physiology
  • Medicine
  • Natural history
  • Dietetics
  • Food
  • Teleology
  • Hippocratism
  • Galenism
  • Aristotelianism
  • Iatrochemistry
  • Iatromechanism
  • Cartesianism
  • Newtonianism
  • Medical vitalism

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Aristotle (1984) On the soul. In: Barnes J (ed) The complete works of Aristotle, vol 1. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 641–692

    Google Scholar 

  • Boylan M (1982) The digestive and ‘circulatory’ systems in Aristotle’s biology. J Hist Biol 15(1):89–118

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bray G (1990) Obesity: historical development of scientific and cultural ideas. Int J Obesity 14:909–926

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown T (1987) Medicine in the shadow of the Principia. J Hist Ideas 48(4):629–648

    Google Scholar 

  • Buffon G (1749–1767) Histoire naturelle générale et particulière: avec la description du Cabinet du Roy, 15 vols. Imprimerie royale, Paris. http://www.buffon.cnrs.fr

  • Carson A (1990) Putting her in her place: woman, dirt, and desire. In: Halperin D, Winkler J, Zeitlin F (eds) Before sexuality: the construction of erotic experience in the ancient Greek world. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 135–169

    Google Scholar 

  • Cullen W (1800) Nosology, or, a systematic arrangement of diseases, by classes, orders, genera, and species; with the distinguishing characters of each, and outlines of the systems of Sauvages, Linnaeus, Vogel, Sagar, and Macbride. Translated from Latin of William Cullen. Printed by C. Stewart for William Creech, Edinburgh

    Google Scholar 

  • Descartes R (1972) Treatise of man. Translation and commentary by T. Hall. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Foucault M (1990) The history of sexuality, vol 2. The use of pleasure. Translated by R. Hurley. Vintage Books, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Galen (1951) A translation of Galen’s hygiene (De Sanitate Tuenda). Translated by R. Green. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois

    Google Scholar 

  • Galen (1968) On the usefulness of the parts of the body, 2 vols. Translation, introduction, and commentary by M. May. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Galen (2000) On the powers of foods. In: Grant M (ed) Galen on food and diet. Routledge, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Geyer-Kordesch J (1990) Georg Ernst Stahl’s radical Pietist medicine and its influence on the German enlightenment. In: Cunningham A, French R (eds) The medical enlightenment of the eighteenth century. Cambridge University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Grimaud J (1787) Mémoire sur la nutrition. J. Martel, Montpellier

    Google Scholar 

  • Grimaud J (1789) Second mémoire sur la nutrition. Supplément au Mémoire françois sur la nutrition. Jean Martel, Montpellier

    Google Scholar 

  • Haller A (1759–1765) Anfangsgründe der Phisiologie des menschlichen Körpers, vol 6. Edited by J. Haller. Christian Friedrich Voss, Berlin/Leipzig

    Google Scholar 

  • Haller A (1966) First lines of physiology, 2 vols. Introduction by L. King. Johnson Reprint, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Hartley D (1791) Observations on man, his frame, his duty, and his expectations, 3 vols. Reprint J. Johnson, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Hatfield G (1995) Remaking the science of mind: psychology as natural science. In: Fox C, Porter R, Wokler R (eds) Inventing Human Science: Eighteenth-Century Domains. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 184–231

    Google Scholar 

  • Hippocrates (1979) Aphorisms. In: Loeb classical library, vol 4. Translated by W.H.S. Jones, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 97–219

    Google Scholar 

  • Hippocrates (1981) Prognostic. In: Loeb classical library, vol 2. Translated by W.H.S. Jones. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 6–55

    Google Scholar 

  • Hippocrates (1984) Airs waters places. In: Loeb classical library, vol 1. Translated by W.H.S. Jones. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 70–137

    Google Scholar 

  • King H (1998) Hippocrates’ woman: reading the female body in ancient Greece. Routledge, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Pagel W (1956) Van Helmont’s ideas on gastric digestion and the gastric acid. Bull Hist Med 30(6):524–536

    Google Scholar 

  • Pitcairn A (1718) The philosophical and mathematical elements of physick. n.p., London

    Google Scholar 

  • Sauvages F Boissier de (1771) Nosologie méthodique, dans laquelle les maladies sont rangées par classes, suivant le systême de Sydenham, & l’ordre des Botanistes, 3 vols. Translated by Nicolas. Hérissant, Paris

    Google Scholar 

  • Shapin S (2003) Trusting George Cheyne: scientific expertise, common sense, and moral authority in early eighteenth-century dietetic medicine. Bull Hist Med 77(2):263–297

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Spallanzani L (1783) Expériences sur la digestion de l’homme et de différentes espèces d’animaux. Translation and introduction by J. Senebier. Barthélemi Chirol, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  • Steinke H (2005) Irritating experiments: Haller’s concept and the European controversy on irritability and sensibility, 1750–1790. Rodopi, Amsterdam

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Stolberg M (2012) ‘Abhorreas pinguedinem’: fat and obesity in early modern medicine, ca. 1500–1750. Stud Hist Phil Biol Biomed Sci 43:370–378

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Vandereycken W, Van Deth R (1994) From fasting saints to anorexic girls: the history of self-starvation. New York University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams E (2020) Appetite and its discontents: science, medicine, and the urge to eat, 1750–1950. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elizabeth A. Williams .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Section Editor information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Williams, E.A. (2020). Appetite in Early Modern Science and Medicine. In: Jalobeanu, D., Wolfe, C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20791-9_596-1

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20791-9_596-1

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-20791-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-20791-9

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Religion and PhilosophyReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences