Melancholic habits : Burton’s anatomy & the mind sciences by Jennifer Radden
By Jennifer Radden
Jennifer Radden unearths, inside of Robert Burton's spiritual and humoral causes in his 'Anatomy of Melancholy', a remarkably coherent account of ordinary and irregular psychology with echoes in modern-day medical psychology.
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See Von Eckardt 2012. 41 42 M e la n ch o lic H abi t s well-k nown exploration of the relationship between the amygdala and the frontal lobes during states of fear. Fear is an apt example for us, since unwarranted and inappropriate fear constitute one of the two most common symptoms of melancholy described in the Anatomy. LeDoux is dealing with more universal states of fear, however: those we share with other creatures such as the laboratory rats he studied. And in this case, the trigger for the fear is some observed dangerous object in the external world, affecting sensory receptors—not an imaginary item, since we cannot find out what rats imagine if they do at all.
The inferior may be alone, but the superior cannot subsist without the other; so sensible includes Vegitall, Rationall both, which are contained in it (saith Aristotle) … as a Triangle in a Quadrangle. (I,1,2,5:148) While there was agreement that it depended on the body for its knowledge of the external world, the soul’s existence in relation to the body in renaissance metaphysics had been vaguely, and variously, construed. 30 Generally held, at least, was that certain of its Sensitive faculties, such as imagination, somehow reached beyond the bodily (“sensible includes Vegitall and Rationall both”), and that the Rational soul possessed knowledge not derived from sense.
If, as John Sutton complains, in a “curious consensus” across analytic history of philosophy, medical anthropology, feminist theory, dynamicist cognitive science, and phenomenology, Descartes has become the “anti-magus, stripping nature and the body of all power and activity,” so that his objectification of the body is “but one symptom of the mechanistic violation of an earlier enchanted world,” then passages such as these in the Meditations, for all that they may misrepresent his position, are to blame.