Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Book

Soul Made Flesh: Thomas Willis, the English Civil War and the Mapping of the Mind

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 04 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1108
  1. Iain McClure, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist (
  1. Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire

    We take for granted some fundamental principles in medicine—for example, that anatomy underpins pathology and that pathology reveals the causes of clinical disorders. On reading Soul Made Flesh I was amazed to discover that such basic notions were developed only as recently as 350 years ago and that, before this revelation, physicians had been practising on their patients with a mindset of arrogant ignorance. This was a time when medicine was tethered to a set of principles first set out by Plato and Aristotle, 2000 years earlier. These principles …

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