Descartes on the Heartbeat: The Leuven Affair

Perspectives on Science 21 (4):397-428 (2013)
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Abstract
There is an interesting historical detour in the dissemination of one of the seventeenth century’s most praised discoveries: the reception of Harvey’s account of the circulation of the blood is closely intertwined, especially in the Low Countries, with Descartes’ account of the origin of the heartbeat. Descartes was one of the first figures to support the circulation of the blood and to give credit to Harvey for it, although he presumably arrived at the same conclusion independently through his own anatomical experiments. He did so while vocally rejecting Harvey’s views on the muscular nature of the heart and his explanation of cardiac motion, to promote his own mechanistic solutions instead. Although Descartes’ ..
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Oeuvres de Descartes.Descartes, René; Adam, Ch & Tannery, Paul

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2013-11-28

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