Rene Descrates

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While the great philosophical distinction between mind and body in western thought can be traced to the Greeks, it is to the seminal work of René Descartes (1596-1650) [see figure 1], French mathematician, philosopher, and physiologist, that we owe the first systematic account of the mind/body relationship. Descartes was born in Touraine, in the small town of La Haye and educated from the age of eight at the Jesuit college of La Flèche. At …

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…psychology was published only well after its author's death. The year 1641 saw the appearance of Descartes' Meditationes de prima philosophia, in quibus Dei existentia, & animae à corpore distinctio, demonstratur In 1649, on the eve of his departure for Stockholm to take up residence as instructor to Queen Christina of Sweden, Descartes sent the manuscript of the last of his great works, Les passions de l'ame[3], to press. Les passions is Descartes' most important contribution to psychology proper.