Somatology: Notes on a Residual Science in Kant and the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

  • Francesco Valerio Tommasi


In a very few places in his writing, Kant mentions “somatology.” As a lexical creation of Protestant Scholasticism, “somatology” is meant to be a science dealing with bodies. But this definition entails an ambiguity: A body can be every physical and material object, and in this sense somatology stays very close to physics. But somatology can also refer specifically to animal and human bodies: In that sense, somatology is the counterpart of psychology, and both constitute anthropology. This ambiguity is constitutive of the modern comprehension of the body, both in the Cartesian as in the scholastic approach. Kant’s references to somatology are therefore paradigmatic of a wider question concerning a philosophical science of the human body. The question regarding this science is for itself an unsolved problem of Kantian and modern anthropology.


Somatology Body Kant Anthropology Dualism 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Valerio Tommasi
    • 1
  1. 1.Sapienza Università di RomaRomeItaly

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