Francois Broussais

Francois BroussaisIn hmolscience, Francois Broussais (1772-1838) was a French surgeon, general pathologist, philosopher, and asoulist noted for his his moral theory investigations.

In 1814, Broussais began to promulgate his views on the relation between life and stimulus, and on the physiological interdependence and sympathies of the various organs.

Broussais, at some point, denied the existence of the soul, on the basis that he never found one in the corpses one dissects (e.g. pineal gland of the Cartesian soul; the heart of the Egyptian soul, etc.) (Ѻ)(Ѻ); a view similar to Napoleon Bonaparte and his surgeon soul queries.

Broussais, while attacking the spiritualists of his time, simultaneously denied he was a materialist and an atheist. (Ѻ)

The following, from Broussais' An Outline of the Association of Ideas, seem to be of note:

“To think or to reflect, is to exercise recollection and judgment. No other elements are contained in what we call thinking. What recollection and judgment are, such is thought therefore.”
— Francois Broussais (1828), Prop. 18: “Of Thought” (pgs. 399)

“The will is that state of the brain, attendant upon vivid sensations or ideas, concomitant with desires and aversions, and that excites us to action; it is as real as the sensations or ideas, and as really corporeal. For instance, that sensation called hunger does not arise, when the stomach is completely satisfied, and therefore it depends on the state of the bodily organs. I see before me on the table, a piece of roast beef, a knife, fork and plate: if my stomach needs food, the sensation accompanying these visible images, will be associated with hunger: if the stomach be satisfied it will not. If it be accompanied by hunger, the desire, wish, will or volition to eat, and the consequent motions to carry that volition into effect, will take place not otherwise. That desire, therefore, is a state of the brain dependent on the excited state of the bodily organs that act by transmitted excitement, that is, by innervation, on the encephalon. It is a peculiar state of the brain associated with a peculiar state of the stomach. All desires and aversions, wishes and volitions when analyzed will in like manner be found nothing more than modifications of cerebral motion arising from the circumstances that excited the motions themselves.”
— Francois Broussais (1828), Prop. 19: “Of the Will” (pgs. 399)

“I know nothing approaching to satisfactory proof of any innate moral sense. It is one of the dreams of the ontologists and metaphysicians.”
— Francois Broussais (1828), Prop. 20: “Of the Moral Sense; Conscience” (pgs. 399-402)

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Quotes | About
The following are quotes on or about Broussais:

“Cabanis is the true master of Broussais, because for him, the moral is only the physical considered under certain particular points of view.”
— E.F. Dubois d’Amines (1864), “Broussais” [1]

The following are noted quotes:

“My intention is to rescue ‘the physical and moral science of man’ from the obfuscations and obscurities of those who seek to ‘plunge us once again into the illusions of chimeras of ontology’.”
— Francois Broussais (1828), On Irritation and Instanity [3]

“It is no more ‘just’ to punish an assassin than a tiger.”
— Francois Broussais (c.1834), paraphrase of fatatist views of Spinoza, Hobbes, or Priestley [2]

1. (a) d’Amiens, E.F. Dubois. (1864). “Broussais”, Publication (pg. 91); see also: M.Levy, “Eloge de Broussais” (1839), Publication (pg. 387).
(b) Clarke, Edwin, and Jacyna, L.S. (1992). Nineteenth-Century Origins of Neuroscientific Concepts (pg. 273-77). University of California Press.
2. Thomson, Ann. (2008). Bodies of Thought: Science, Religion, and the Soul in the Early Enlightenment (pg. 226). Oxford University Press.
3. (a) Broussais, Francois. (1828). On Irritation and Insanity: Wherein the Relations of the Physical with the Moral Conditions of Man, are Established on the Basis of Physiological Medicine; to which are added Two Tracts on Materialism, and An Outline of the Association of Ideas (De l’irritation et de la folie) (translator: Thomas Cooper) (morality, 8+ pgs; moral, 100+). S.J. M’Morris, 1831.
(b) Williams, Elizabeth A. (2002). The Physical and the Moral: Anthropology, Physicology, and Philosophical Medicine in France, 1750-1850 (§:The Physiological Medicine of F.J.V. Broussais, pgs. 166-). Cambridge University Press.

External links
Francois-Joseph-Victor Broussais – Wikipedia.

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