SAS-Space, for world class research

Latest Additions

What Ever happened to Francis Glisson? Albrecht Haller and the Fate of Eighteenth-Century Irritability

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item

What Ever happened to Francis Glisson? Albrecht Haller and the Fate of Eighteenth-Century Irritability


This article investigates the reasons behind the disappearance of Francis Glisson’s theory of irritability during the eighteenth century. At a time when natural investigations were becoming increasingly polarized between mind and matter in the attempt to save both man’s consciousness and the inert nature of the res extensa, Glisson’s notion of a natural perception embedded in matter did not satisfy the new science’s basic injunction not to superimpose perceptions and appetites on nature. Knowledge of nature could not be based on knowledge within nature, i.e., on the very knowledge that nature has of itself; or – to look at the same question from the point of view of the human mind – man’s consciousness could not be seen as participating in forms of natural selfhood. Albrecht Haller played a key role in this story. Through his experiments, Haller thought he had conclusively demonstrated that the response given by nature when irritated did not betray any natural perceptivity, any inner life, any sentiment interi´eur. In doing so, he provided a less bewildering theory of irritability for the rising communities of experimental physiology.

Giglioni, Guido (2008) What Ever happened to Francis Glisson? Albrecht Haller and the Fate of Eighteenth-Century Irritability. Science in Context, 21 (4). pp. 1-29. ISSN 1474-0664


Item Type: Article
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Classics
Philosophy
Divisions: Warburg Institute
Collections: Warburg Institute staff papers
Depositing User:
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0269889708001920
URI: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/id/eprint/4865
Files available for downloadg
[img] PDF
What_Ever_Happened.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
Download
Altmetric Statisticsg