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The Face of Descartes

Oct 22, 2014
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Philosophy is heady stuff, but I would be willing to wager that most graduate students don’t imagine that the actual, physical craniums of their leading lights play a role in their work.

Philosophy is heady stuff, but I would be willing to wager that most graduate students don’t imagine that the actual, physical craniums of their leading lights play a role in their work. Yet scholars now are suggesting just such a thing: new research has come to light suggesting that Rene Descartes, famous mind and mathematician, may have suffered from sinus cancer:

Descartes died in Stockholm in 1650 at the age of 54, and as the study in the Lancet explains, his skull has been held by Paris’ National Museum of Natural History since 1821. After running scans on the skull using computed tomography, by which many thin slices of images are compiled to form a 3-D image, Charlier found a tumor measuring nearly 1 square inch in Descartes’ right sinus, reports Phys.org.

Did the tumor enhance his thinking or color his work on the nature of selfhood? Likely not. But it remains a good reminder that sinus cancer has been with us for some time, and that even individuals who are productive well into their middle age can harbor problems that warrant an aggressive response.

If you have long-lasting sinus symptoms, contact a Los Angeles sinus surgeon today.

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