Descartes understood the subject matter of physics (or natural philosophy) to encompass the whole of nature, including living things. It therefore comprised not only nonvital phenomena, including those we would now denominate as physical, chemical, minerological, magnetic, and atmospheric; it also extended to the world of plants and animals, including the human animal (with the exception of those aspects of the human mind that Descartes assigned to solely to thinking substance: pure intellect and will). Descartes wrote extensively on physiology (...) and on the physiology and psychology of the senses. This chapter examines the notions of *physiology* and *psychology* in medical and natural philosophical works of Descartes' day; follows his efforts to bring physiology into his mechanistic idiom; considers the relation between physiology of the animal machine and psychological functions that yield functionally appropriate behavior; goes into his physiology and psychology of vision; and elaborates the tension in Descartes' works between his metaphysically supported micro-corpuscularism and his discussion of the animal machine as an organic unity comprising various functionally and teleologically characterized systems. The chapter draws on Descartes' works in both metaphysics and natural philosophy, including his Treatise on Man (originally published as L'Homme, 1664). (shrink)
After 1900, the selective breeding of a few standard animals for research in the life sciences changed the way science was done. Among the pervasive changes was a transformation in scientists' assumptions about relationship between diversity and generality. Examination of the contents of two prominent physiology journals between 1885 and 1900, reveals that scientists used a diverse array of organisms in empirical research. Experimental physiologists gave many reasons for the choice of test animals, some practical and others truly comparative. (...) But, despite strong philosophical differences in the approaches they represented, the view that it was best to incorporate as many species as possible into research on physiological processes was widespread in both periodicals. Authors aimed for generality, but they treated it as a conclusion that would or would not follow from the examination of many species. After 1900, an increasing emphasis on standardization, the growth of the experimental method and the growing industrialization of the life sciences led to a decline in the number of species used in research. In this context, the selective breeding of animals for science facilitated a change in assumptions about the relationship between generality and diversity. As animals were increasingly viewed as things that were assumed to be fundamentally similar, scientific generality became an a priori assumption rather than an empirical conclusion. (shrink)
Though many philosophers of mind have taken an interest in the great developments in the brain sciences, the interest is seldom reciprocated by scientists, who frequently ignore the contributions philosophers have made to our understanding of the mind and brain. In a rare collaboration, a world famous brain scientist and an eminent philosopher have joined forces in an effort to understand how our brain interacts with the world. Does the brain behave as a calculator, combining sensory data before deciding how (...) to act? Or does it behave as an emulator endowed with innate models of the world, which it corrects according to the results of experiences obtained by the senses? The two authors come from very different backgrounds - the philosopher Jean-Luc Petit belongs to the philosophical tradition of Husserlian phenomenology. Alain Berthoz has long been interested in the physiology of action (movement, posture, decision-making, perception, etc.). Drawing on cutting-edge research from the cognitive sciences, the authors have produced a highly original volume showing how phenomenology and physiology can interact to further our understanding of the brain and the mind. (shrink)
This paper addresses the visual culture of late-19th-century experimental physiology. Taking the case of Johann Nepomuk Czermak (1828-1873) as a key example, it argues that images played a crucial role in acquiring experimental physiological skills. Czermak, Emil Du Bois-Reymond (1818-1896) and other late-19th-century physiologists sought to present the achievements and perspective of their discipline by way of "immediate visual perception (unmittelbare Anschauung)." However, the images they produced and presented for this purpose were strongly mediated. By means of specifically designed (...) instruments, such as the "cardioscope," the "contraction telegraph," and the "frog pistol," and of specifically constructed rooms, so-called "spectatoriums," physiologists trained and controlled the perception of their students before allowing them to conduct experiments on their own. Studying the material culture of physiological image production reveals that technological resources such as telegraphy, photography, and even railways contributed to making physiological facts anschaulich. At the same time, it shows that the more traditional image techniques of anatomy played an important role in physiological lecture halls, especially when it came to displaying the details of vivisection experiments to the public. Thus, the images of late 19th century physiology stood half-way between machines and organisms, between books and instruments. (shrink)
In this paper I show how what came to be known as “the double law of habit,” first formulated by Joseph Butler in a discussion of moral psychology in 1736, was taken up and developed by medical physiologists William Porterfield, Robert Whytt, and William Cullen as they disputed fundamental questions regarding the influence of the mind on the body, the possibility of unconscious mental processes, and the nature and extent of voluntary action. The paper shows, on a particular topic, the (...) overlap between eighteenth-century philosophical writings on the science of human nature on the one hand,and medical writings and lectures in physiology on the other. Other early modern writers discussed in the paper include René Descartes, Herman Boerhaave and David Hume. (shrink)
The paper seeks to refute the idea that physiology can explain at best an organism’s behaviour, outward and inner, but not the conscious experiences that accompany that behaviour. To do so, the paper clarifies the idea by confrontation with an actual example of psychophysical explanation of perceptual experience. This reveals that the idea relies on a prejudice about physiological practice. Then the paper explores some peculiar ways in which this prejudice may survive its refutation. This is to bring out (...) that such explanations of experience as are actually offered by contemporary psychophysics explain nothing less than what they purport to explain; and that these achievements are not, in some peculiar way, more remarkable than equally clever physical explanations of other phenomena. (shrink)
In this paper, the need of increasing transdisciplinarity research is advocated. After having set out some peculiarity of transdisciplinarity compared with related concepts such as multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, four evolutionary stages of scientific disciplines, based on a model recently proposed are presented. This model is then applied to the case of Plant Physiology in order to attempt an evaluation of the potential for transdisciplinary engagement of the discipline, and each of the four stages of the discipline is evaluated. In (...) conclusion, some future perspectives of Plant Physiology are sketched with reference to its transdisciplinary potential. (shrink)
The physiologist Johannes Müller’s doctrine of specific nerve energies had a decisive influence on neo-Kantian conceptions of the objectivity of knowledge in the 1850s - 1870s. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Müller amassed a body of experimental evidence to support his doctrine, according to which the character of our sensations is determined by the structures of our own sensory nerves, and not by the external objects that cause the sensations. Neo-Kantians such as Hermann von Helmholtz, F.A. Lange, (...) and Otto Liebmann took Müller’s doctrine to have far-reaching consequences for their epistemologies. Over the course of the 1850s - 1870s, these three neo-Kantians, each in his own way, argued that reflection on Müller’s doctrine ruled out a certain conception of the objectivity of knowledge. It ruled out the view that knowledge is objective in virtue of affording us information about objects in a mind-independent external world. -/- This paper traces how Helmholtz, Lange, and Liebmann developed their arguments for this view, and how each developed his own alternative conception of objectivity, according to which objectivity has nothing to do with a mind-independent world. Finally, the paper concludes by considering why these arguments modelled on Müller’s doctrine would have been so powerful against rival post-Hegelian conceptions of objectivity, especially those of scientific materialists like Ludwig Büchner. (shrink)
In this paper I challenge the widely held view which associates Hume’s philosophy with mechanical philosophies of nature and particularly with Newton. This view presents Hume’s account of the human mind as passive receiver of impressions which bring into motion, from the outside, a mental machinery whose functioning is described in terms of mechanical causal principles. Instead, I propose an interpretation which suggests that for Hume the human mind is composed of faculties that can be characterized by their active contribution (...) which frequently results in qualitative change. This anatomy of the mind is explored from a physiological perspective focused on the normal functioning and interaction of the mind’s various organs. While pursuing this enterprise, I suggest that Hume’s outlook is closer to eighteenth-century “philosophical chemistry” and vitalistic physiology than to the heritage of mechanical philosophies. (shrink)
On the whole our study has made a plea for the combined research into the history, methodology and philosophy of science. There is an intricate communication between these aspects of science, philosophy being both a fruit of scientific developments and a higher-level frame of reference for discussion on the inevicable metaphysical issues in science.As such philosophy can be very useful to science, but should never impose its ideas on the conduct of scientists . ... Zie: Summary.
A common and enduring early modern intuition is that materialists reduce organisms in general and human beings in particular to automata. Wasn’t a famous book of the time entitled L’Homme-Machine? In fact, the machine is employed as an analogy, and there was a specifically materialist form of embodiment, in which the body is not reduced to an inanimate machine, but is conceived as an affective, flesh-and-blood entity. We discuss how mechanist and vitalist models of organism exist in a more complementary (...) relation than hitherto imagined, with conceptions of embodiment resulting from experimental physiology. From La Mettrie to Bernard, mechanism, body and embodiment are constantly overlapping, modifying and overdetermining one another; embodiment came to be scientifically addressed under the successive figures of vie organique and then milieu intérieur, thereby overcoming the often lamented divide between scientific image and living experience. (shrink)
I argue that Descartes explains physiology in terms of whole systems, and not in terms of the size, shape and motion of tiny corpuscles (corpuscular mechanics). It is a standard, entrenched view that Descartes’ proper means of explanation in the natural world is through strict reduction to corpuscular mechanics. This view is bolstered by a handful of corpuscular–mechanical explanations in Descartes’ physics, which have been taken to be representative of his treatment of all natural phenomena. However, Descartes’ explanations of (...) the ‘principal parts’ of physiology do not follow the corpuscular–mechanical pattern. Des Chene has identified systems in Descartes’ account of physiology, but takes them ultimately to reduce down to the corpuscle level. I argue that they do not. Rather, Descartes maintains entire systems, with components selected from multiple levels of organization, in order to construct more complete explanations than corpuscular mechanics alone would allow. (shrink)
When discussing the changing sense of reality around 1900 in the cultural arts the lexicon of early modernism reigns supreme. This essay contends that a critical condition for the possibility of many of the turn of the century modernist movements in the arts can be found in exchange of instruments, concepts, and media of representation between the sciences and the arts. One route of interaction came through physiological aesthetics, the attempt to ‘elucidate physiologically the nature of our Aesthetic feelings’ and (...) explain how works of art achieve their effects. Physiological aesthetics provided the terms for new formalist languages of art and criticism, and in some instances suggested optimistic, even utopian, possibilities for art to remake human individuals and societies.Keywords: Physiology; Psychology; Evolution; Aesthetics; Modernism; Art history. (shrink)
During the period 1860-1880, a number of physicists and mathematicians, including Maxwell, Stewart, Cournot and Boussinesq, used theories formulated in terms of physics to argue that the mind, the soul or a vital principle could have an impact on the body. This paper shows that what was primarily at stake for these authors was a concern about the irreducibility of life and the mind to physics, and that their theories can be regarded primarily as reactions to the law of conservation (...) of energy, which was used among others by Helmholtz and Du Bois-Reymond as an argument against the possibility of vital and mental causes in physiology. In light of this development, Maxwell, Stewart, Cournot and Boussinesq showed that it was still possible to argue for the irreducibility of life and the mind to physics, through an appeal to instability or indeterminism in physics: if the body is an unstable or physically indeterministic system, an immaterial principle can act through triggering or directing motions in the body, without violating the laws of physics. (shrink)
In reflecting on the relation between early empiricist conceptions of the mind and more experimentally motivated materialist philosophies of mind in the mid-eighteenth century, I suggest that we take seriously the existence of what I shall call ‘phantom philosophical projects’. A canonical empiricist like Locke goes out of his way to state that their project to investigate and articulate the ‘logic of ideas’ is not a scientific project: “I shall not at present meddle with the Physical consideration of the Mind” (...) (Essay, I.i.2). An equally prominent thinker, Immanuel Kant, seems to make an elementary mistake, given such a clear statement, when he claims that Locke’s project was a “physiology of the understanding,” in the Preface to the A edition of the first Critique). A first question, then, would be: what is this physiology of the understanding, if it was not Locke’s project? Did anyone undertake such a project? If not, what would it have resembled? My second and related case comes out of a remark the Hieronymus Gaub makes in a letter to Charles Bonnet of 1761: criticizing materialist accounts of mind and mind-body relations such as La Mettrie’s, Gaub suggests that what is needed is a thorough study of the “mechanics of the soul,” and that Bonnet could write such a study. What is the mechanics of the soul, especially given that it is presented as a non-materialist project? To what extent does it resemble the purported “physiology of the understanding”? And more generally, what do both of these phantom projects have to do with a process we might describe as a ‘naturalization of the soul’? (shrink)
In his Handbook of Physiology, the nineteenth-century physician Johannes Müller cited the third part of the Ethics entirely: no one, he held, had ever explained "static connections among passions" better than Spinoza. Earlier, Goethe referred to the famous physiologist Boerhaave as a "master of clinical medicine and the last disciple of Spinoza". And more than a century later, in his book Looking for Spinoza, the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio considered that Spinoza's Ethics offered the proper philosophical framework for understanding the (...) neurology of human emotions. The lasting relevance of the Ethics to human physiology may seem surprising: Spinoza... (shrink)
This paper focuses on an understudied aspect of Hobbes's natural philosophy: his approach to the domain of life. I concentrate on the role assigned by Hobbes to the heart, which occupies a central role in both his account of human physiology and of the origin of animal locomotion. With this, I have three goals in mind. First, I aim to offer a cross-section of Hobbes's effort to provide a mechanistic picture of human life. Second, I aim to contextualize Hobbes's (...) views in the seventeenth-century debates on human physiology and animal locomotion. In particular, I will compare Hobbes's views with the theories put forth by Harvey, Descartes, the Galenic, and Peripatetic traditions. Also, I will show that Hobbes was receptive to advances within contemporary English physiology and chemistry. Third, by means of a comparison with Descartes, I advance some hypothesis to explain why Hobbes indentified the heart, and not the brain (as was increasingly com... (shrink)
It is argued that the disciplinary identity of anatomy and physiology before 1800 are unknown to us due to the subsequent creation, success and historiographical dominance of a different discipline-experimental physiology. The first of these two papers deals with the identity of physiology from its revival in the 1530s, and demonstrates that it was a theoretical, not an experimental, discipline, achieved with the mind and the pen, not the hand and the knife. The physiological work of Jean (...) Fernel, Albrecht von Haller and others is explored to prove this point. In conclusion this old physiological tradition is compared to the new experimental physiology, as practised by Francois Magendie and Pierre Flourens. (shrink)
At various points in his work on physiology and medicine, Descartes refers to a “principle of life.” The exact term changes—sometimes, it is the “principle of movement and life”, sometimes the “principle underlying all [the] functions” of the body —but the message seems consistent: the phenomena of living bodies are the product of a single, underlying principle. That principle is generally taken to be cardiac heat.1 The literature has, quite reasonably, taken this message at face value. Thus, Shapiro: “Descartes (...) insists again and again that the human body is properly to be described as a machine whose workings are […] driven by the heat in the heart that... (shrink)
In 1929 the newly-reorganized Rockefeller Foundation funded the work of a cross-disciplinary group at Harvard University called the Committee on Industrial Physiology. The committee’s research and pedagogical work was oriented towards different things for different members of the alliance. The CIP program included a research component in the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory and Elton May’s interpretation of the Hawthorne Studies; a pedagogical aspect as part of Wallace Donham’s curriculum for Harvard Business School; and Lawrence Henderson’s work with the Harvard Pareto (...) Circle, his course Sociology 23, and the Harvard Society of Fellows. The key actors within the CIP alliance shared a concern with training men for elite careers in government service, business leadership, and academic prominence. But the first communications between the CIP and the Rockefeller Foundation did not emphasize training in human biology. Instead, the CIP presented itself as a coordinating body that would be able to organize all the varied work going on at Harvard that did not fit easily into one department, and it was on this basis that the CIP became legible to the President of Harvard, A. Lawrence Lowell, and to Rockefeller’s Division of Social Sciences. The members of the CIP alliance used the term human biology for this project of research, training and institutional coordination. (shrink)
This paper explores one of the main sources of Nietzsche’s knowledge of physiology and considers its relevance for the philosophical study of history. Beginning in 1881, Nietzsche read Der Kampf der Theile im Organismus by Wilhelm Roux, which exposed him to a dysteleological account of organic development emphasising the excitative, assimilative and auto-regulative processes of the body. These processes mediate the effects of natural selection. His reading contributed to a physiological understanding of history that borrowed Roux’s description of physiological (...) processes. This physiological description of history proceeded from the similarity between the body’s mediation of its milieu and history’s mediation of the past. (shrink)
The possible evolutionary significance of epigenetic memory and codes is a key problem for extended evolutionary synthesis and biosemiotics. In this paper, some less known original works are reviewed which highlight theoretical parallels between current evolutionary epigenetics, on the one hand, and its predecessors in the eco-physiology of higher nervous activity, on the other. Recently, these areas have begun to converge, with first evidence now indicating the possibility of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of conditional associations in the mammalian nervous system, (...) and related findings in other taxa. This can serve as an interesting example of evolutionary code-making, where the molecular mechanisms underlying arbitrary associations between stimuli involve lasting changes in gene expression that may be transmitted epigenetically across generations, and which in some cases could be further assimilated into the genome over subsequent evolution. Although preliminary, such epigenetic scenarios would also offer an interesting, if so far overlooked parallel to earlier research carried out by one of I.P. Pavlov’s leading students, acad. P.K. Anokhin, and his colleagues, but also by eminent eco-physiologists of the time, several of whom offered arguments for the possibility of unconditional reflexes representing evolutionarily later, specialized, and reduced forms of associative reflexes, from which they may be derived. Although discarded under the growing dominance of modern synthesis, these early epigenetic investigations may deserve renewed attention in the modern context, and if further confirmed, could open essentially new perspectives on the morphofunctional evolution of the nervous system. (shrink)
Some natural philosophers in the 17th century believed that they could control their own innards, specifically the animal spirits coursing incessantly through brain and nerves, in order to discipline or harness passion, cognition and action under rational guidance. This chapter addresses the mechanisms thought necessary after Eden for controlling the physiology of passion. The tragedy of human embedding in the body, with its cognitive and moral limitations, was paired with a sense of our confinement in sequential time. I use (...) two strands of 17th-century natural philosophy to exemplify forms of the perceived connection between physiology, memory, and the passions. I deal at length with Cartesian mechanism, and more briefly with Restoration natural philosophy in England. These are fruitful historical domains for connecting cognition and culture, since relations of domination, disruption, or accommodation between present and past are in play for both selves and societies. Despite the difficulty of integrating affect with cognition in theories of brain and mind, the capacity to treat passion and memory together is crucial for future cognitive science to address issues which outsiders care about. (shrink)
Following the exploration of the disciplinary identity of physiology before 1800 in the previous paper of this pair, the present paper seeks to recover the complementary identity of the discipline of anatomy before 1800. The manual, artisanal character of anatomy is explored via some of its practitioners, with special attention being given to William Harvey and Albrecht von Haller. Attention is particularly drawn to the important role of experiment in anatomical research and practice-which has been misread by historians as (...) physiological experiment. Although scientific status was claimed by some practitioners for the discipline, the knife remained the tool of the discipline. Finally the differences between the teleological assumptions underlying anatomy, and the 'argument from design' or natural theology are explored. (shrink)
By 1910 the Cambridge University physiology department had become the kernel of British physiology. Between 1909 and 1914 an astonishing number of young and talented scientists passed through the laboratory. The University College department was also a stimulating place of study under the dynamic leadership of Ernest Starling.I have argued that the reasons for this metropolitan axis within British physiology lie with the social structure of late-Victorian and Edwardian higher education. Cambridge, Oxford, and University College London were (...) national institutions attracting students from all over England and Wales. In contrast, the provincial colleges drew their clientele from relatively narrow geographic radii. Generally, also, these institutions were regarded as socially inferior to the longer-established universities.A brief survey of the biographies of some British physiologists demonstrates how physiology, as an occupation, became, over the later decades of the century, socially elite. The scientists who achieved full-time posts in the 1870s generally came from somewhat marginal backgrounds. Foster, like his mentors T. H. Huxley and William Sharpey, came from a non-conformist family. Edward Schäfer was also a dissenter and, like Foster, began his professional career as a general practitioner.Physiologists of the succeeding generation, however, came from wealthy families with established intellectual traditions. John Scott Haldane, nephew of John Burdon Sanderson, was the brother of the politician R. B. Haldane and uncle of the historian A. R. B. Haldane.71 Joseph Barcroft was one of the most affluent of all physiologists.72 His family's wealth derived from linen manufacturing. He attended the Ley's School Cambridge, where his schoolmates included Henry Dale, later Director of the National Institute for Medical Research; F. A. Bainbridge, who eventually became Professor of Physiology at St. Bartholomew's Hospital; and the Cambridge historian J. H. Clapham. A. V. Hill, Professor of Physiology at Manchester and, subsequently, London, married Margaret Keynes, sister of John Maynard Keynes and niece of Sir Walter Langdon Brown, Professor of Physic at Cambridge. Margaret Keynes's younger brother, the surgeon Sir Geoffrey Keynes, married a granddaughter of Charles Darwin; their son Richard Keynes also became a physiologist at Cambridge.These families were part of a new class emerging during the late Victorian period, descendants of the great reforming radicals of the 1830s, who had begun to achieve power through positions in the universities, the professions, and the civil service. Their social prestige rested upon their intellectual expertise. Physiology was an appealing research discipline to these groups because of its clear dissociation from industry and commerce. And because physiology's “practical” face was medicine, its acceptability was reinforced by professional ties.The nature of the Physiological Society confirms this image of physiology as an elite science. By the turn of the century the Society had taken on some of the characteristics of a dining club. The scientific meetings were generally followed by dinner: if the Society met at Oxford, they were entertained at Burdon Sanderson's college, Magdalen.73 Through a “black ball” system, unwanted candidates could be excluded. In 1912, when the question of admitting foreigners was discussed, E. H. Starling wrote to Edward Schäfer: “the Society has very much in it the nature of a club, and a certain amount of personal knowledge of the candidate is always desirable.”74.The developing institutional structure of physiology in late Victorian Britain indicates, therefore, that we must look beyond the achievements of individuals and departments to understand why physiology flourished. The discipline became part of a new social order in which the professional middle classes assumed increasing power. These groups valued intellectual skill, especially in the pure scienes, as forces both for self-advancement and for progress within society. (shrink)
This paper addresses the visual culture of late-19th-century experimental physiology. Taking the case of Johann Nepomuk Czermak as a key example, it argues that images played a crucial role in acquiring experimental physiological skills. Czermak, Emil Du Bois-Reymond and other late-19th-century physiologists sought to present the achievements and perspective of their discipline by way of "immediate visual perception." However, the images they produced and presented for this purpose were strongly mediated. By means of specifically designed instruments, such as the (...) "cardioscope," the "contraction telegraph," and the "frog pistol," and of specifically constructed rooms, so-called "spectatoriums," physiologists trained and controlled the perception of their students before allowing them to conduct experiments on their own. Studying the material culture of physiological image production reveals that technological resources such as telegraphy, photography, and even railways contributed to making physiological facts anschaulich. At the same time, it shows that the more traditional image techniques of anatomy played an important role in physiological lecture halls, especially when it came to displaying the details of vivisection experiments to the public. Thus, the images of late 19th century physiology stood half-way between machines and organisms, between books and instruments. (shrink)
Within thirty years from 1870, English physiology was transformed from a subsidiary branch of anatomy to an experimental school of international reputation. An inevitable consequence of this metamorphosis was disclosure of the intrinsic nature of the new discipline, in particular by Burdon Sanderson's Handbook for the Physiological Laboratory . By transmitting Continental methods to England, the Handbook gave direction to its awakening science, and at the same time represented a provocative target for attacks by the antivivisectionists. In uncertain defence (...) of their methods, the beleaguered physiologists exposed awkward inconsistencies of word and deed that reflected fundamental problems of internal ethics and of public accountability. Though to many the discipline remained technically brutal and aesthetically coarse, the necessary suffering of the intuitionists' nightmares could soon, by the growing and undeniable impact of therapeutic medicine, be presented as a justifiable price for the utilitarian dream. (shrink)
This paper brings Georges Canguilhem and Gilles Deleuze together with the contemporary biologist Mary Jane West-Eberhard. I examine the concepts of adaptation and adaptivity in Canguilhem’s The Normal and the Pathological in light of West-Eberhard’s notion of “developmental plasticity,” which is, I claim, adaptivity in the developmental register. In turn, I interpret Canguilhem’s notion of “comparative physiology” and West- Eberhard’s notion of an “eco-devo-evo” approach to biology in terms of Deleuze’s notion of multiplicity.
In his concept of an anthropological physiology, F.J.J. Buytendijk has tried to lay down the theoretical and scientific foundations for an anthropologically-oriented medicine. The aim of anthropological physiology is to demonstrate, empirically, what being specifically human is in the most elementary physiological functions. This article contains a sketch of Buytendijk''s life and work, an overview of his philosophical-anthropological presuppositions, an outline of his idea of an anthropological physiology and medicine, and a discussion of some episternological and methodological (...) problems. It is demonstrated that Buytendijk''s design of an anthropological physiology is fragmentary and programmatic and that his methodology offers few points of contact for specific anthropological experimental research.Notwithstanding, it is argued that Buytendijk''s description of the subjective, animated body forms a pre-eminent point of reference for all research in physiology and psychology in which the specific human aspect is not ignored beforehand. (shrink)
Previous chapter NB : This text is a section of larger work on rhythm in Antiquity. Rhythm in Physiology – Peripatetic School's Problems In the Προβλήματα – Problems, which is an Aristotelian or more probably pseudo-Aristotelian collection of questions and answers gradually assembled by members of the peripatetic school, the concept of rhythm mutates again. The gap between the Aristotelian sophisticated analyses developed in Rhetoric and Poetics and the gross definitions given in - Médecine – Nouvel article.
Up to date Scholasticism is quite proud of its close union with Science. That bond has been strengthened considerable of late by the Physiology course described and recommended in the present article. The Editor.
The body is central to the philosophies of Spinoza and Nietzsche. Both thinkers are concerned with the composition of the body, its potential relations with other bodies, and the modifications which a body can undergo. Gilles Deleuze has contributed significantly to the relatively sparse literature which draws out the affinities between Spinoza and Nietzsche. Deleuze’s reconceptualization of the field of ethology enables us to bring Spinoza and Nietzsche together as ethologists of the body and to elaborate their common, physiological perspective (...) on ethico-political composition. This is accomplished by reading the concepts of force, power, and affect as they are mobilized in their discussions of corporeity and intercorporeity. What emerges is a metaphysics of bodies that can simultaneously be regarded as a physiology of encounters, one which renders the friend/enemy distinction indiscernible and opens the door for a rethinking of the nature of political alliances. Both Spinoza and Nietzsche are shown to be invaluable resources for helping us imagine the potential of the individual’s body and the body politic. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate the mechanics of killing, brining together neuroscience, military history, and the work of the French philosophers Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari. Investigating the Columbine killers and the way they negotiate with the intensity of the act of killing allows me to construct a concept of “political physiology,” defined as “interlocking intensive processes that articulate the patterns, thresholds, and triggers of emergent bodies, forming assemblages linking the social and the somatic, with sometimes the subjective as (...) intermediary.” While most people must be in a blind rage to kill at close range, the Columbine killers raised the threshold at which an evolutionarily inherited non-subjective “rage agent” kicks in, thus allowing themselves to be subjects in the act of killing. Yet they were not “cold-blooded killers,” either, those who lower the intensity of the act of killing below the threshold that prevents most interpersonal violence from reaching lethal proportions, since they committed suicide soon after their killing spree from burning out. The success of the Columbine killing machine warns us of a “machinic phylum” whose singularities are virtually available for incorporation into bodies by subjects willing to undergo extreme experiments in political physiology. (shrink)
In Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's time, micro-mechanism seemed to dominate, though not exclusively, the more innovative trend in physiology, and microscopic anatomy determined the representation of living beings. The basic postulate was that human understanding could rely on microscopic observation and account for microstructures by framing mechanical models: along that trend, hope was to attain the real causes of physiological phenomena. In his natural philosophy, Leibniz grants living beings a prominent place. His metaphysics contains arguments and notions that build on (...) physiological concepts to express the condition of finite substances and the relationship between substances in the phenomenal world. For Leibniz, at least in the later stages of his career, the account of living individuals and of their properties would provide access to a well-founded representation of corporeal substances in general. This article looks at Leibniz's views on physiology and organic bodies, focusing on his conception of living beings as "machines of nature" and his theory of monads. (shrink)
The question of how our conception of the world could differ so widely from the disclosed nature of the world will with perfect equanimity be relinquished to the physiology and history of the evolution of organisms and concepts.In an interview conducted by the Italian literary journal Alfabeta in April of 1987,1 Niklas Luhmann was asked if sociology, in particular its systems-theoretical variant, could replace the privileged position that art, religion, philosophy, and politics had lost, and provide an Archimedean point (...) from which to describe society as a whole. Luhmann responded that today it is no longer possible to imagine such an outside position for the observation of the whole, sociology being no exception. .. (shrink)
In this article, I respond to ‘Fighting Status Inequalities’. I first note a niggle about the paper’s assumption that lowering socio-economic inequalities will lower the social gradient in health. I then suggest two further ways in which neorepublicanism may relate to social epidemiology: in terms of ‘moral physiology’ and through analysing which inequalities are unjust.
In this paper I focus on the Hungarian intellectual and politician Paul Szende’s sociologically oriented epistemology. I trace the influences of physiology, psychology, economy, evolutionary theory of his day on his sociological theory of abstractive knowledge, and discuss the close connection between physiological, social, and economic aspects in the early sociology of knowledge. My discussion continues with an examination of Szende’s differentiation between two economic effects within social epistemology: on the one hand the ‘economy of thought’ in the tradition (...) of Ernst Mach, with its physiological, organic, and integrative functioning of knowledge; on the other hand, the socio-economic effects of social selection, exclusion, and societal antagonism. Besides the Marxist and more specifically the Austro-Marxist environment of Szende’s writings, I trace the influence of the economic theory of Italian economist Achille Loria on Szende’s understanding of the antagonistic nature of the transformation of knowledge. The paper is set at the intersection of philosophy of science and history of science. It relates epistemological issues to historical, social, and scientific developments in Szende’s day and thus combines a philosophical analysis of Szende’s sociological theory of knowledge with historical research into the natural, social, and economic sciences of his time. (shrink)
Academic physiology, as it was taught by John Hughes Bennett during the 1870s, involved an understanding of the functions of the human body and the physical laws which governed those functions. This knowledge was perceived to be directly relevant and applicable to clinical practice in terms of maintaining bodily hygiene and human health. The first generation of medical women received their physiological education at Edinburgh University under Bennett, who emphasised the importance of physiology for women due to its (...) relevance for the hygienic needs of the family and of society. With the development of laboratory-based science as a distinct aspect of medical education during the later nineteenth century, however, so the direct application of physiology to clinical practice diminished. The understanding of physiology as hygiene was marginalised by the new orthodoxy of scientific medicine. This shift in the physiological paradigm enabled medical women to stake out a specific field of interest within medicine which was omitted from the new definition of physiology as pure medical science: hygiene and preventive medicine. Women physicians were able to take advantage of the shift towards science as the basis of medical theory and practice to define their own specific role within the profession. (shrink)
Physiologists and historians are still debating what conceptually differentiates each of the three major modern theories of regulation: the constancy of the milieu inte´rieur, homeostasis and allostasis. Here I propose that these models incarnate two distinct regimes of politization of the life sciences.This perspective leads me to suggest that the historicization of physiological norms is intrinsic to the allostatic model, which thus divides it fundamentally from the two others. I analyze the allostatic model in the light of the Canguilhemian theory, (...) showing how the former contributed to the development of a critical epistemology immune to both naturalist essentialism and social constructivism. With a unique clarity in the history of physiology, allostasis gives us a model of the convergence of historical epistemology and scientific practice. As such it played a key role in codifying the epistemological basis of certain current research programs that, in the fields of social epidemiology and feminist neuroscience, promote what we name here a critical physiology. (shrink)
Not at all self-evident, the so-called isomorphisms between the phenomenology and physiology of dreams have been interpreted by Hobson et al. in an arbitrary manner to state that dreams are stimulated by chaotic brainstem stimulation (an assumption also adopted by Vertes & Eastman). I argue that this stimulation is not chaotic at all; nor does it occur in the absence of control from the cerebral cortex, which contributes complexity to brainstem activity as well as meaningful information worth consolidating in (...) the brain during sleep. [Hobson et al.; Vertes & Eastman]. (shrink)
In many scientific fields, the practice of self-experimentation waned over the course of the twentieth century. For exercise physiologists working today, however, the practice of self-experimentation is alive and well. This paper considers the role of the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory and its scientific director, D. Bruce Dill, in legitimizing the practice of self-experimentation in exercise physiology. Descriptions of self-experimentation are drawn from papers published by members of the Harvard Fatigue Lab. Attention is paid to the ethical and practical justifications (...) for self-experimentation in both the lab and the field. Born out of the practical, immediate demands of fatigue protocols, self-experimentation performed the long-term, epistemological function of uniting physiological data across time and space, enabling researchers to contribute to a general human biology program. (shrink)