Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Dana Jalobeanu, Charles T. Wolfe

Soul, Seat of the

  • Paolo PecereEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20791-9_556-1


This article surveys metaphysical and physiological investigations of the seat of the soul. After introducing the Scholastic background of the problem (section “From the Scholastics to Vesalius”), I focus on the turn that is represented by Cartesian philosophy (section “The Cartesian Turn”), then address the metaphysical (section “Metaphysical Controversies”) and physiological (section “Experimental Traditions and Physiological Hypotheses”) controversies between the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. Kant’s criticism that the quest for the seat of the soul is an “impossible” task introduces a conclusion on the legacy of the problem in neurophysiology (section “Kant’s Critique and the Fate of the Seat of the Soul”).

From the Scholastics to Vesalius

The question concerning the seat of the soul traditionally involved both a metaphysical and a medical dimension: on the one hand, different conceptions of the soul determined whether it made sense to search for its place...

Related Topics

Soul Neurophysiology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Communication and Performing ArtsUniversità Roma TreRomeItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dana Jalobeanu
    • 1
  • Charles T. Wolfe
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Sarton Centre for History of ScienceGhent UniversityGhentBelgium