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How did Rene Descartes "discover" that the seat of the soul is in the pineal gland?

Why not the center of the heart for example?


  1. Hi. I guess my post got deleted. Anyways, here’s from wikipedia. This all stems from Descartes’ radical reductionism and mechanistic approach to the philosophy of nature.
    “Descartes suggested that the pineal gland is “the seat of the soul” for several reasons. First, the soul is unitary, and unlike many areas of the brain the pineal gland appeared to be unitary (though subsequent microscopic inspection has revealed it is formed of two hemispheres). Second, Descartes observed that the pineal gland was located near the ventricles. He believed the cerebrospinal fluid of the ventricles acted through the nerves to control the body, and that the pineal gland influenced this process.”

  2. This was pretty much a “default position” on Descartes part.
    Descartes philosophy be regarded as “sowing the seeds of science” This is because he was the first philosopher to separate mind from body. The physical from the mental. Modern science largely concentrates on the physical.
    Having separated mind from body Descartes was faced with a problem. It was a very basic problem. Now that mind and body are separate entities or different substances (physical and mental) How are they linked? Descartes would have been happy if they remained separate, but as everybody knows they are somehow linked.
    At the basic level my mental thoughts are transferred to my body to create action or movement.In exactly the same way my physical activity creates mental thoughts. Descartes knew like everyone else that the physical and mental are linked but the problem was how are they linked? The only unsatisfactory explanation Descartes could come up with is they are linked through the pineal gland.


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