An entire body of philosophy according to the principles of the famous Renate Des Cartes in three books, (I) the institution ... (II) the history of nature ... (III) a dissertation of the want of sense and knowledge in brute animals ... / written originally in Latin by the learned Anthony Le Grand ; now carefully translated from the last corrections, alterations, and large additions of the author, never yet published ... by Richard Blome.

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An entire body of philosophy according to the principles of the famous Renate Des Cartes in three books, (I) the institution ... (II) the history of nature ... (III) a dissertation of the want of sense and knowledge in brute animals ... / written originally in Latin by the learned Anthony Le Grand ; now carefully translated from the last corrections, alterations, and large additions of the author, never yet published ... by Richard Blome.
Le Grand, Antoine, d. 1699.
London :: Printed by Samuel Roycroft, and sold by the undertaker Richard Blome [and 10 others],

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Descartes, René, 1596-1650.
Philosophy -- Early works to 1800.
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"An entire body of philosophy according to the principles of the famous Renate Des Cartes in three books, (I) the institution ... (II) the history of nature ... (III) a dissertation of the want of sense and knowledge in brute animals ... / written originally in Latin by the learned Anthony Le Grand ; now carefully translated from the last corrections, alterations, and large additions of the author, never yet published ... by Richard Blome." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 15, 2024.


CHAP. XXII. Of the Common Sense, Imagination, and Memory.

I. The Soul is not really distinguisht from its Faculties. THE Common Sense, Imagination and Me∣mory, are called the Inferiour Faculties of the Soul, as being attributed to it, because of its intimate union with the Body; whereas the Under∣standing and Will are stiled its Superiour Faculties, because they appertain to the Soul, simply consi∣dered, and without any respect had to its Relati∣on with the Body. But as these latter are not Be∣ings distinct from the Soul it self, but only Modes of it: So neither are the former any thing else but different modifications thereof, arising from its intimate union with the Body. Thus the Soul, for∣asmuch as it perceives all the motions imparted to the Brain from the outward Organs of the Senses, is called the Common Sense; with respect to its long retaining and preserving the same perceptions, it is called Memory; and forasmuch as it variously compounds and divides the same, it is called Ima∣gination. In like manner, with respect to its de∣siring or having an aversion by reason of the Ob∣jects that are represented by those perceptions, it is called the Sensitive Appetite; as the Locomotive or moving Faculty is attributed to it forasmuch as it commands the Animal Spirits, and by their means variously moves the Members of the Body according to its pleasure. So that these Faculties are indeed nothing else, but outward modificati∣ons, or ways of our considering the Soul, which makes it no more to differ from it self, than Number and Duration makes those things to differ that are numbred or do endure; and consequently the difference there is betwixt the Soul and its Fa∣culties, is only a Distinction of Reason, that is, a notional distinction.

II. What the Common Sense is and how the same it exerted. Seeing therefore that our Bodily Members are devoid of Sense, and that the Soul alone is endu∣ed with that Faculty, it remains for us to exa∣min, what inward instrument the Soul makes use of for the perception of things, and how the Spe∣cies or representations of Objects are conveyed to it. For the motion of the outward Organ, is on∣ly performed in the Brain, because there the Soul

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exerciseth its Functions. Wherefore this Sense is called the Common Sense, because it receives all the Species of the outward Senses, and so reacheth their Objects. For when we represent to our selves any Object, as for Example, a Man, we do not only seem to behold the colour of his Face, and stature of his Body; but also to smell the Odours he is us'd to have about him, to hear him speak, to taste the Food he eats, and to feel the Softness or Rough∣ness of the Cloaths he wears. For from what hath been said already, it cannot be question'd, but that the Brain is the Organ of the inward Sense, foras∣much as the Nerves proceed from it, as Threads from a Distaff, whereby the motions of the outward Senses are transmitted.

III. The Glan∣dula Pine∣alis, or Pine-Apple-like Kernel, is the Seat of the Inward Sense. Yet is not the whole Brain the Seat of this Inward Sense, but only some part of it; for otherwise the Optick Nerves, and the Pith of the Back-bone, as being of the same Substance with the Brain, would be the Residence of the Inward Sense. Now this peculiar place of the Souls Resi∣dence, is the Conarion, or Glandula Pinealis, a certain Kernel, resembling a Pine-Apple, placed in the midst of the Ventricles of the Brain, and sur∣rounded with the Arteries of the Plexus Choroides. The Reason why we take this Kernel to be the peculiar Seat of the Soul is, because this part of the Brain is single, and one only. For whereas all the Organs of the Senses are double; there can be no Reason given, why we should not perceive two Objects instead of one; but only because both these Impressions are transmitted to a certain part of the Brain, which is single and one only, wherein both are conjoyn'd. Furthermore, it is also requi∣site that that part should be moveable, to the end that the Soul by agitating of it immediately, might be able to send the Animal Spirits into some certain Muscles, rather than into others. And forasmuch as this Kernel is only supported by very small Arteries that encompass it, it is certain that the least thing will be sufficient to put it into motion. And therefore we conclude, that this in∣most part of the Brain is the Seat of the Soul, in which it exerts its operations of Understanding and Willing of whatsoever proceeds from the Body, or tends towards it.

IV. What the Common Sense is. Accordingly the Common Sense may be de∣scribed to be an Internal Sense, whereby all the Objects of the External Senses are perceived and united in the midst of the Brain, as the common Center of all Impressions. Or the Common Sense is nothing else, but the concurrence of all motions made by the Objects upon the Nerves, in the Co∣narion, happening at the same time that the Objects move the Senses.

V. The Little∣ness of this Kernel is no hin∣drance to its being the Instru∣ment of the Common Sense. Neither doth the Smalness of this Kernel hinder its being the Instrument of the Common Sense; but on the contrary, those Persons are the most stupid in whom this Kernel, because of its bigness, is not so readily moved; and those the most witty and apprehensive in whom this Kernel is less, because it is so much the more easily moved: And tho' it were much less than it is, yet would it be big enough with respect to the several Points of the Ventricles, and to the Pipes of the Nerves.

VI. What Spe∣cies and Phantasms are. The Foot-steps of absent Objects, which are laid up in that simple and pliable Substance, by the assistance of the Nerves, are called Species and Phantasms, by Philosophers. They preserve the memory of things before perceived by us, and represent them to us, as oft as we think of them.

VII. What Ima∣gination is. Phantasie or Imagination, is nothing else▪ but a certain application of the Knowing Faculty to the Body (viz. the Brain) which is intimately present to it. Or it is an Internal Sense, whereby the absent Objects of the External Senses are represented present to the Brain, by reason of the Foot-steps of former Impressions. For the Species of the Imagination make us to conceive the Image of these things as present to the Eye of our Mind. For when we do imagine any Object, the Soul turns it self to the Body, there to behold the Image or Representation which it apprehends, as intimately present to its Thoughts.

VIII. The strength of the Imagina∣tion. But here ariseth a Difficulty. For if it be so that the Imagination be performed in the Brain, how comes it to act upon distant Bodies? as it happens in some White-Women that bring forth Blacks, and Blacks that bring forth White Children? And in those spots or marks which Longing-Women impress upon their Children; or that an Adulterous Woman brings forth Children, that are like her absent Husband?

This Difficulty will be easily resolved, if we suppose that the Imagination hath not only a great force over the Brain, but also over the whole Body; for seeing that the Nerves, as so many Strings, are extended throughout the whole Body, they readily convey the Animal Spirits from the Brain to the Muscles, together with the Affection imprest on the Brain. And by the same means the Imagination moves the Humours of the Body, and by this differerent agitation of the Humours, the Blood becomes alter'd, and consequently the Skin and colour of the Hairs also become changed. Yea, without this change or alteration of the Blood, some Impression may be conveyed through the Arteries of the Woman that is with Child, to some certain part of the Birth in the Womb, and leave a Mark there. See my Natural History, con∣cerning Man, Chap. VI.

IX. Wherein the Nature of the Memory doth con∣sist. Memory is that Faculty of the Soul, which re∣peats things perceived by former Sensations; or it is the calling to mind of known and past things. And differs from the Imagination only in this, that from the Foot-steps of former Impressions on the Brain, it doth represent as present to it self, Objects that were formerly offer'd to it: Whereas Memory consists in this, that the Pores of the Brain, through which the Spirits, determin'd by the Pine-Apple-like Kernel, have passed, are thereby become di∣lated, and consequently more fit to admit the same Spirits, repassing that way another time.

X. Memory is either In∣tellectual or Animal▪ And accordingly Memory is twofold, viz. Intel∣lectual and Animal. Intellectual is that which be∣longs to Angels and Souls, by means whereof they can represent to themselves, the Thoughts they formerly have had concerning Spiritual things; and this kind of Memory doth not stand in need of any Bodily assistance. The Animal Memory is that which is common to us with Brutes, and is per∣formed by means of the Brain, and the Foot-steps imprest upon it. For Sensual or Corporeal Memory imports nothing else, but a certain facility remain∣ing in the Pores of the Ventricles of the Brain, to open themselves again, by reason of their having

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been before opened by the Animal Spirits. Or, to speak more clearly, the Foot-steps of the Animal Memory are those, which the passage of the Ani∣mal Spirits hath left betwixt the Fibres of the Brain, through which they have passed before, so as to go out by the said Pores again, as they at first enter'd in by them; by which means it comes to pass, that these Spirits do more easily enter these Pores, than others; as Paper that hath been once folded, is more apt to run into the same Folds that hath been formerly made in it.

XI. How the Foot-steps of Memory are formed in the Brain. To understand how this is done, we are to imagine, that after that the Spirits that go forth from the Glandula Pinealis H, have left some im∣pression of a Species, or some particular Foot-steps of their passage, they do pass from thence through the Points 2, 4, 6, 8, and into the like Pores and Intervals as are found betwixt the Fila∣ments, whereof the portion of the Brain EE * 1.1doth consist. Which Spirits have the power of dilating the said Intervals in some sort; as likewise of folding and diversly disposing of the Filaments, against which they push in their passage, accord∣ing to their different motions, and the various openings of the Pipes through which they pass; that there also they may impress Figures like to those of the Objects.

XII. How they are trans∣mitted to the Brain. We are to conceive therefore, that the Figure imprest by the Object AB, CD, upon the Fibres of the Optick Nerve, which it moves or agitates in the Surface of the Retina 1, 3, 5, 7, must de∣lineate another Figure like it self, in the inward Surface of the Ventricles of the Brain 2, 4, 6, 8, where the said Fibres are terminated: Whence it comes to pass, that the Animal Spirits, which re∣side in the Kernel H, must more swiftly pass out of the Pores, that answer to them, than they did be∣fore; and that too in the same form or figure of the opening. And thus their Course produceth another like to it upon the Glandula H, which is that Form to which the Thoughts of the Soul, which depend on the Body, are immediately linked.

XIII. How these Foot-steps of the Memory are pro∣duced. But yet the Spirits, which make their way through the Passage 2, 4, 6, 8, though they may be of some force to dilate the passages of the Fibres a little; yet they have not power enough at the first stroak, to impress their figures upon the Fibres, which are in the Substance of the Brain, with so much facility or perfection, but by de∣grees perform the same more acurately, according as the Action of the Spirits is either stronger, more lasting, or more frequently repeated. Whence it follows also, that these Figures are not so easily obliterated, but do abide there: So that by means of them, Species, that at any other time have been imprest upon this Kernel, may a long while after be again represented or formed there, even tho' the Objects be absent. And tho' these Passages should afterwards chance to be shut up again, yet they still retain a greater facility or readiness to be open'd, than other Neighbouring passages that were never yet opened. As if many Needles should pierce * 1.2the stretched piece of Linnen A, the Holes which the said Needles had made in it, would remain open, even after that the Needles be taken away: Or, if they should be closed, yet there would some signs thereof remain in the Cloth, which might very easily be opened again. And it is to be noted, that if only some of these Holes should be open'd again: As for Example a, and b, this would be sufficient to make others of them, such as c, and d, to be dilated again at the same moment of time; especially if all the foresaid Holes had been often open'd, and that all of them had been usu∣ally opened together. Yea, there is a greater faci∣lity or readiness in the Pores of the inward Sub∣stance of the Ventricles of the Brain, of opening themselves upon the like Action, than there can be in the Linnen Cloth; for that whilst the Spirits do again open some of those Passages, the said Spirits, because they are diffused every way, do in some sort follow the same Track (in the same manner as we see that the Sound or Wind follows the motion of Running-Waters) and by this means do open the Passages again that are about them, because of the easiness they find to enter in by them.

XIV. How we can remem∣ber two Objects at one and the same time. Moreover, we are to take notice, that in case only some Passages were opened, after the same manner others would also be opened at the same time; especially if they had been frequently open∣ed before, and all of them together. Thus when 2 Objects have delineated their Species, and that the 2 Ranges of the Spirits, that have framed them, be somewhere joyned in the Substance of the Brain, it is sufficent if one of them only be brought to the Pine-Apple-like Kernel, for the stirring up again of the said Actions, which had their rise from them both. As when we have seen the Nose and Eyes of any Face, we readily appre∣hend the Mouth, Forehead, and other parts of it, and imagine them as present to us, because we are never us'd to see any of these Parts by it self, but all of them together.

XV. What ought to be the Tempera∣ment of the Instru∣ment of Memory. From what hath been said, we may easily ap∣prehend, that the Brain ought not to be over moist or soft, that it may the better retain the Species imprest upon it. Thus we see that New born Children, whose Brain is in a manner altogether watry, cannot retain any impression that is made upon it; and for the same Reason it is, that tho' Children afterwards do with ease enough learn things by Heart, yet they as easily forget them again. Whereas on the contrary, those who have harder and drier Brains, do long retain the Marks once imprest upon them, but cannot without difficulty receive any new Impressions. Hence it is that very Old Men, because of the Driness of their Brain, become wholly deprived of their Memory, neither can retain ought of those things that are committed to them; and yet are very retentive of those things they have long since committed to their Memories; because their Brain being grown hard, doth more firmly preserve the Impressions made there.


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