GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Vision. Engraving of visual activity in the brain and eyes, taken from the first European textbook of physiology, Rene Descartes' De Homine (1662). An apple is seen by the eyes at lower right and the resulting image passes along nerve fibres into the visual cortex of the brain where it will be processed. Descartes (1596-1650) was a French mathematician and philosopher. He based De Homine on the idea of a human machine made by God to be almost identical to a real person. This allowed him to explain the body purely mechanically without the restrictions of contemporary theology and physiology.
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