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The Animal Spirit Doctrine and the Origins of Neurophysiology$
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C.U.M. Smith, Eugenio Frixione, Stanley Finger, and William Clower

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199766499

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199766499.001.0001

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Animal Spirit in an Age of Faith

Animal Spirit in an Age of Faith

Chapter:
(p.71) Chapter 5 Animal Spirit in an Age of Faith
Source:
The Animal Spirit Doctrine and the Origins of Neurophysiology
Author(s):

C. U. M. Smith

Eugenio Frixione

Stanley Finger

William Clower

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199766499.003.0005

This chapter centers on the development of the animal spirit and Christian thought in relation to both the spirit and knowledge of the material world. It reveals that the enduring doctrine of the animal spirit only came under suspicion towards the end of the 16th and start of the 17th centuries. The discussion first studies the functional divisions of the brain. Here, it refers to the three cavities or ventricles where—based on the accepted medical theory at the time—pneuma was collected before being distributed to the body via the nerves. Next, it studies the impact of Aristotle and the Thomist synthesis, which blended Aristotelian philosophy with Christian doctrine. This chapter also discusses neuroanatomy during the Renaissance and some thinkers who felt the tensions between the newer and older ways of thinking.

Keywords:   animal spirit, Christian thought, functional divisions, pneuma, Thomist synthesis, Renaissance, neuroanatomy

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