Ad Code

Comparative physiology and psychology - Shobal Vail Clevenger - PDF ebook

Comparative physiology and psychology 

Comparative physiology and psychology


A discussion of the evolution and relations of the mind and body of man and animals

Insanity will be better understood and its treatment will become more scientific in proportion to the development of psychology, based upon comparative microscopic anatomy and physiology into which molecular physics shall enter more in the future.

 Heretofore the mental workings have been discussed chiefly by a class called metaphysicians, many of whom were astute observers; but in the main, their system was so insufficient, so one-sided, and their deductions often so absurd as to discourage honest investigators and cause such a thing as a science of the human mind to be looked upon as chimerical, and even though possible to achieve, as of doubtful use. 

The study of the mind has thus fallen into disrepute among many scientists, and as has been the case with all branches of knowledge, it has been travestied by such imposters and ignoramuses as phrenologists, spiritualists, mind-readers, magnetizers, pseudo-psychologists, and has been honestly assailed by a sprinkling of bewildered metaphysicians, with rarely, here and there, physiologists, such as Carpenter, Maudsley, etc. It is not intended here to review the matter historically. Incidentally, it will appear how vast has been the influence of  Physiology and Psychology. 

Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin in the evolution of sensible psychology, but the work done by Huxley, Wundt, Ribot, Meynert, Spitzka, and a few other special workers in biological fields should be accorded full recognition. The method by which I propose to examine the mind is an extension of Herbert Spencer's principles. Analytical and synthetical applications of many fields of research, mainly physiological. Comparative embryology and physiological chemistry are rapidly clearing the way for safer inductions, though alone they would be insufficient for our purpose. 

Catholicity and the grasp of a multitude of scientific facts, apparently having but little to do with the subject will give succeeding generations safer and still safer bases for the coming comparative psychology, which will rescue both mental study and general medicine from empiricists and impostors. It may be startling to many of my readers to learn that the drift of physiological inquiry has been steadily toward the recognition of sensation and memory and all the vast subsidiary mental processes, correctly and incorrectly called emotions, feelings, cognitions, etc., as modes of chemical energy. 


Chemical union and interchange of atoms are conceded by all, but the abjectly ignorant, in other life phenomena, as in assimilation, blood, bone, cartilage, and muscle-building; but the nervous system, through effects of olden superstitious training, has been regarded as in some way exempt from the full operation of natural laws, and the brain is looked upon by many sincere and otherwise well-informed persons, to-day, as a meeting place of material and inscrutable spiritual laws. I wish to be understood by all classes of thinkers, for a fair beginning will acquit me of ambiguity. 

That mind is chemical affinity, or allied to it as a property of matter, seems a terribly blasphemous assertion to many of the old superstitious ways of thinking. To such who cannot rid themselves of their fetiches and whose bias prevents their intelligent examination of any physiological study, I have nothing to say.

 If they are content with ignorance they must make the most of it; but with all who are not afraid to follow wherever facts will lead them, whatever their inclination to believe maybe, we may meet upon the common ground of acknowledging that there is an Uknown. I will not grant an Unknowable, for to set limits upon what may be disclosed to us in the future argues a knowledge of where science will always fail, which no one possesses. That is, we cannot say that we will never know certain things, for each century moves the preceding limits of the known farther into what has been before the realm of the unknown. 

At present, it would be arrogant indeed to say that everything was known, and hence I start with the full admission of ignoramus as to ultimates, but by what right can we cry, ignoramus? Knowledge be- ing relative, who shall fix the boundaries of the ultimate? Dualists and the ecclesiastically biased, who are anxious to throw the responsibility of the universal workings upon a capricious influence of which we know nothing, should be content with this acknowledgment of an unknown beyond. With this unknown, we shall have nothing whatever to do, and we will proceed at once to consider what is known and to argue therefrom.


Some contents of the book:

INTRODUCTION, ..... i
CHAPTER II.
PRIMITIVE LIFE AND MIND, . . . .6
CHAPTER III.
ORGANOGENY, . ... 30
CHAPTER IV.
GENESIS, . . . . . -47
CHAPTER V.
DEVELOPMENT, ...... 59
CHAPTER VI.
PHYSICS OF THE CEREBRO-SPINAL NERVOUS SYSTEM, 107
CHAPTER VII.
PHYSICS OF THE SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM,. 151
CHAPTER VIII.
PHYSICS OF THE NERVE CELLS, . . . 157
CHAPTER IX.
PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM,. 162 
 
Author: Shobal Vail Clevenger
Publication date: 1885

Download Comparative physiology and psychology- PDF ebook - 9 MB

Post a Comment

0 Comments