Sadness as a passion of the soul: A psychopathological consideration of the Cartesian concept of melancholy
Área/s de conocimientoPsicología
Materia/s Unesco3201.05 Psicología Clínica
The relationship between the "passions" (emotions or feelings) and psychopathology has been a constant throughout the history of medicine. In this context, melancholy was considered a perversion of the soul (corruption of the passions). One of the most influential authors on this subject was René Descartes, who discussed it in his work The Treatise on the Passions of the Soul (1649). Descartes believed that "passions" were sensitive movements that the soul experienced due to its union with the body (res extensa). According to this theory, the soul was located in the pineal gland, where it was actively involved in overseeing the functions of the "human machine" and kept its dysfunctions under control, by circulating animal spirits. Descartes described sadness as one of "the six primitive passions of the soul", which leads to melancholy if not remedied. Cartesian theories had a great deal of influence on the way that mental pathologies were considered throughout the entire 17th century (Spinoza, Willis, Pitcairn) and during much of the 18th century (Le Cat, Tissot). From the 19th century onwards, emotional symptomatology finally began to be used in diagnostic criteria for mood disorders. Sadness as a passion of the soul: A psychopathological.... Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49830961_Sadness_as_a_passion_of_the_soul_A_psychopathological_consideration_of_the_Cartesian_concept_of_melancholy [accessed Jun 06 2018].