© 2016

Descartes’ Treatise on Man and its Reception

  • Delphine Antoine-Mahut
  • Stephen Gaukroger


  • Features 20 essays written by leading scholars that provide a detailed examination of L’Homme by René Descartes

  • Examines the early reception of the work as well as its influence on contemporary accounts of the role of physiology in understanding human perception and cognition

  • Offers readers an indispensible companion to early-modern physiology


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

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

  • Book Title Descartes’ Treatise on Man and its Reception
  • Editors Delphine Antoine-Mahut
    Stephen Gaukroger
  • Series Title Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
  • Series Abbreviated Title Stud. History, Philosophy (formerly: Australasian Stud....)
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-46987-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-83631-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-46989-8
  • Series ISSN 0929-6425
  • Series E-ISSN 2215-1958
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VI, 304
  • Number of Illustrations 28 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Science
    History of Philosophy
  • Buy this book on publisher's site