- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
with an introduction by Oliver Sacks
Kurt Goldstein (1878-1965) was already an established neuropsychologist when he emigrated from Germany to the United States in the 1930s. This book, his magnum opus and widely regarded as a modern classic in psychology and biology, grew out of his dissatisfaction with traditional natural science techniques for analyzing living beings. It offers a broad introduction to the sources and range of application of the "holistic" or "organismic" research program that has since become a standard part of biological thought.
In the course of his studies of brain-damaged soldiers during World War I, Goldstein became aware of the inability of contemporary biology and medicine to explain both the impact of such injuries and the astonishing adjustments that patients made to them. He began to challenge atomistic approaches that dealt with "localized" symptoms, insisting instead that an organisim must be analyzed in terms of the totality of its behavior and interaction with its surrounding milieu.
Goldstein was especially concerned with the breakdown of organization and the failure of central controls that take place in catastrophic responses to situations such as physical or mental illness. But he was equally attuned to the amazing powers of the organism to readjust to such catastrophic losses, if only by withdrawal to a more limited range which it could manage by a redistribution of its reduced energies, thus reclaiming as much wholeness as new circumstances allowed.
Goldstein's theses in The Organism have had an important impact on philosophical and psychological thought throughout this century, as can be seen in the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Georges Canguilhem, Ernst Cassirer, and Ludwig Binswanger. In the words of Oliver Sacks: "All that Goldstein observed and brooded over -- levels of organization of the nervous system, health, disease, adaptation, reconstruction -- has once again come to the fore, with the advent of new conceptual and technical tools to approach these. The global theory that Goldstein and Lashley and the Gestaltists sought may now have emerged in Edelman's theory of neural Darwinism and his concept of the brain as a sort of society, in which every part is dynamically connected with every other."
|Preface to the German Edition||15|
|I||Method of Determining Symptoms. Certain General Laws of Organismic Life. Observations on Persons with Brain Injuries||33|
|II||The Organism Viewed in the Light of Results Obtained Through Atomistic Method. The Theory of Reflex Structure of the Organism||69|
|III||Theoretical Reflections on the Function of the Nervous System as Foundation for a Theory of the Organism||95|
|IV||Modification of Function Due to Impairment of the Organism||115|
|V||The Nature of Partitive Processes||133|
|VI||On the Conception of the Organism as a Whole||173|
|VII||Certain Essential Characteristics of the Organism in the Light of the Holistic Approach||229|
|VIII||On Gestalt Psychology and the Theory of the Physical Gestalten||285|
|IX||The Nature of Biological Knowledge||305|
|X||On Norm, Health, and Disease. On Anomaly, Heredity, and Breeding||325|
|XI||On Life and Mind. The Problem of Organismic Hierarchy||353|
|XII||Knowledge and Action||377|