Purkinje's Vision: The Dawning of Neuroscience

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Overview

The life of Jan Evangelista Purkinje (1787-1869) has fascinated students from many disciplines. Histologists marvel at his early descriptions of cells; physiologists admire his attempts to relate structure to function; pharmacologists view in awe his heroic experiments on self-administered drugs; forensic scientists acknowledge his role in the use of fingerprints for identification; and Czech patriots salute his awakening of pride in their nation. Yet all these achievements followed his initial enquiries into vision. It is this psychological dimension that fostered this collaboration.

As the title suggests, the present volume is bifocal. In the narrow sense it refers to Purkinje's studies of vision, but in its broader view it concerns Purkinje's anticipation of neuroscience. Purkinje provided evidence to support both its cellular and its conceptual base. At the cellular level his acute vision is immortalized within our bodies. At the conceptual level, he sought to relate subjective phenomena to their objective underpinnings--to link psychology to physiology.

Vision provides a bond that unites psychology and physiology, and it is this bond that was strengthened by Purkinje's enquiries. The authors have tried to provide a context in which Purkinje's descriptions of visual phenomena can be placed. In some cases this exposes clear precursors of research for which Purkinje has been credited. In others, there was nothing to suggest the phenomena that he exposed. The book translates Purkinje's initial masterpiece on subjective vision and places it in the context of emerging views of neuroscience.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The notion, central to neuroscience, that all subjective experiences have objective correlates was first formulated by the 19th-century Czech scientist Jan Evangelista Purkinje (d. 1869) in his dissertation on vision. Never before translated into English, this dissertation comprises the main body of this volume. The authors (both are psychologists) have provided substantial material to contextual their translation, with chapters on the scientific study of vision, vertigo, neuroscience and psychology; a biography and bibliography of Purkinje; and an assessment of his 1819 dissertation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805836424
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Introduction. Biographical and Bibliographical Notes. Historical Background for Research in Subjective Visual Phenomena. Observations and Experiments on the Physiology of the Senses. Contributions to the Knowledge of Vision in Its Subjective Aspect. Assessment.
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