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The two theories of Western philosophy which have had the most influence on the development of psychiatric thought are the dichotomy between mind and body, and the parcellation of mental function into its intellectual and emotional aspects. In this monograph on medical philosophy in the 17th century, Dr. Riese is right to point out the crucial importance of Descartes' attempts to grapple with these problems at a time when philosophy was adjusting itself to the birth of modern science. However, he fails to convey the spirit of pioneering excitement (and painstaking detail) with which Descartes attempted to relate physiologic to psychologic events, and which still strike readers of his "Passions de L'Ame." Unfortunately, Dr. Riese's cursory treatment of Descartes makes his discussion of the 17th century physicians who walked in Descartes' shadow less satisfactory than might have been hoped.
Dr. Riese gives only two pages to John Locke, the only
Charlton MH. La Théorie des passions a la lumiére de la pensée médicale du XVIIe siécle.. Arch Neurol. 1965;13(6):680. doi:10.1001/archneur.1965.00470060116019