Anatomy, by Juan Bautista Juanini (1689)

Juan Bautista Juanini was a Spanish doctor of the seventeenth century who dedicated himself to the investigation of scientific subjects related to anatomy, medicine and physical sciences. This first work that Cárdenas quotes, although it is an epistle, is around one hundred pages and is built up with the argument about the ultimate source of  animal spirits. By this term he refers to the animated being of the animals – if we can talk with redundancy -, the engine that moves them and distinguishes them, in their conception, from other living beings, including the humans, that manifest the quality of being superior, in that sense. The text is very rich in anatomical descriptions of the animal and human functioning, especially of their nervous system. This is why it has been considered reasonable to suppose that this is the text to which Cárdenas refers; since Juanini does not have in his repertoire a volume with the simple title of  Anatomy.

The work of Juanini was a reference in the academic circles of Spain, although many of its theories were questioned and falsed with the pass of the years. It is interesting to note that Cárdenas made the effort of reading this text even in an unfriendly format. The influence that this document plays in Cardenas is perceived very subtly, when it refers to “the nitros”, a key element of the theory of iatrochemistry, an indirect precursor of pharmacology, defended by Juanini.

Libros de Juan Bautista Juanini

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