Theodorus Craanen

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Theodorus Craanen studied medicine in Utrecht (1651), philosophy and theology in Leiden (1655) and, finally, medicine in Duisburg (1656). He held the chair of philosophy (1671–3) in Leiden. He established a ‘mechanical-philosophical’ school based entirely on Cartesian concepts which he exchanged with the chair of medicine. With regard to anatomy, Craanen explained human physiology in mechanistic terms defined by Gassendi and Descartes. A prolific writer, he published: Oeconomia animalis ad circulationem sanguinis breviter delineate, Gouda, 1685; rev. edn., Amsterdam, 1703; Tractatus physico-medicus de homine, …, Leiden, 1689. See: Luyendijk-Elshout, 1975; Noack and Splett, 1997, pp. 95–8.

In 1671, Spinoza wrote to Jelles:

When Professor … visited me recently, he said, among other things, that he had heard that my Theological-Political Treatise has been translated into Dutch, and that someone (he didn’t know who) intended to have it printed.

Source: 1671.02.17, Ep. 44.

It has been proposed that the individual calling on Spinoza was the Leiden professor of philosophy Theodorus Craanen.