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Les passions de l'ame
Elzevier, Amsterdam 1649 - Mind-Body DualityDescartes, René (1596-1650). Les passions de l’âme. 8vo. [48], 286, [2, blank]pp. Paris: Henry le Gras, 1649. 157 x 92 mm. Vellum ca. 1649, spine a bit darkened. Fine copy, preserved in a cloth drop-back box.First Edition, Paris Issue. Descartes’ final work, which drew heavily on the then-unpublished Traité de l’homme, contains the application of his mechanistic physiology to the relationship between mind and body. Descartes made an essential distinction between the soul as the divinely-endowed seat of consciousness, will and rational thought, and the body as a machine or automaton subject to the laws of physics, and only indirectly controlled by the soul through the nerves. Using this dualistic model, he was able to make the important distinction between voluntary and involuntary actions. Descartes located the soul in the pineal gland, which thus served as the locus for interaction between soul and body; he had defined the pineal gland’s function in the Traité, but Les passions de l’âme contains his first published account of it. The work also contains the first use of the word "reflex" in connection with the action of the nervous system. "Cartesian dualism . . . gave great impetus to the development of psychology in its own right" (Hunter & Macalpine, p. 133).The first edition of Les passions de l’âme was divided between Louis Elzevier in Amsterdam and Henry le Gras in Paris. There is no priority between the two versions; both are equally rare. Garrison-Morton 4965. Guibert, Bibliographie des oeuvres de René Descartes, pp. 150-151. Norman 626. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Jeremy Norman's historyofscience]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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