Essay about The Mind And The Body

1061 Words Dec 19th, 2016 5 Pages
The nineteenth century saw an explosion in knowledge regarding the brain unlike any before. For centuries, the brain had been considered the seat of human intelligence. However, the brain of the classics was a singular organ of matter. Rene Descartes, who studied the brain in the 1600’s, theorized that the mind and the body were separate entities. The mental existed independent of the body. Descartes chose a singular structure in the brain as the unifying structure of the mental and the body. That structure known as the pineal gland is often to this day referred to as “the seat of the soul.” Descartes suggested, then there was no biological basis to rational thinking, and rather the body was a vessel of matter that the mind could interact with.
The father of modern neurology, Jean-Martin Charcot saw things a bit differently. In the nineteenth century as the study of neuroanatomy intensified it quickly became clear that Descartes small singular structure could not account for the entirety of human behavior. With each passing year the knowledge of neurology grew. Charcot, published papers on a variety of neurological phenomena, from Parkinson’s to multiple sclerosis. Charcot established that dysfunctions in different parts of the brain could lead to abnormalities in behavior. Indeed, his contemporaries largely agreed by the mid 1800’s that personality traits could not arise from particular sections of the brain, instead the brains many regions observed through dissection…

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