3. The Human Body in Enlightenment Thought


This meeting will examine shifting eighteenth-century notions of the human body through a short lecture and an examination of contemporary documents from natural philosophy.  We will focus on notions of human nature and its relation to physiology, followed by a short discussion of the social context of anatomy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

By the end of this meeting, you will be able to

  1. Discuss a variety of eighteenth-century notions of human nature.
  2. Explain how discourses about human nature related to developing ideas about gender and race.
  3. Explain the relationship between crime, punishment, and anatomy in late 18th and early 19th-century England.


Reading Questions:


  • You must complete the History Publication Report for Anne C. Vila’s article.  Be sure to upload a copy to your Oncourse Dropbox before class.  Also, bring a copy (either printed or digital) with you for class discussion.


materialism, mind/body dualism, sensibility, vitalism, mechanism


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s