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LE CAT, Claude Nicolas (1700-1768)

Traité des sens. Nouvelle edition, corrigée, augmentée, & enrichie de figures en taille douce.
Amsterdam, chez J. Wetstein, 1744.

Le Cat’s most important work. The Traité des sens was first published in Rouen in 1740 and again in 1742. It was the only part that was set in type of a greater work on physiology, which was never published. This is a new and updated edition. Le Cat, a friend of Voltaire´s, was a neo-Cartesian who believed in the union of the soul and the body and was one of the first adherents of a mechanistic approach to physiology. In his curious Traité des sens he opposes Haller’s doctrine of irratibility and sensibility of the nerves and considers the organism as a hydrualic machine. He postulates that the nerve force was a fluid which passes through the system of pipes and tubes. He also rejects Newton’s theory of colours and places Kepler’s second law of vision in doubt.

Collation: Pp. (16), 328. With 16 engraved plates, some fold-outs with key plate in line drawing. Title leaf printed in red and black, and with an engraved printer's device.

Binding: Contemporary marbled calf with five raised bands and richly gilt spine, red edges and marbled endpapers.

Provenance: [Anders Johan] Hagström[er] (1753-1830).

References: DSB, VIII, pp 114-16; Wangenstein, pp 75-76; Caillet 6342; Hirschberg/Blodi, III, pp 102, 289-94. Elgen Books (June 2004).

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