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The Organism
     

The Organism

by Kurt Goldstein, Oliver Sacks (Foreword by)
 

foreword 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

Overview

foreword 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 ranges of application of the "holistic" or "organismic" research program that has since become a standard part of biological thought.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 that 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 the twentieth century, as evidenced in the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Georges Canguilhem, Ernst Cassirer, and Ludwig Binswanger.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this age of computer-based, reductionist models of the human mind, Goldstein's (1878-1965) pioneering statement on holistic health, written in 1934 in Holland, where he emigrated to escape Nazi Germany, is welcome, especially since the U.S. edition has been out of print for decades. An influential German neurologist and psychologist who taught and practiced medicine in the U.S., where he settled the following year, Goldstein stresses the seamless activity of the whole organism, arguing that there is no independent realm of ``body'' or ``mind.'' Disease, in his system, is an expression of the disturbed relationship between an organism and its environment; recovery is a newly achieved adaptation, not merely a return to a previous equilibrium. Using illustrative material ranging from brain-damaged soldiers to repression of childhood memories, this dense, philosophically informed study reevaluates such concepts as anxiety, dread, instinct, drives, the unconscious and the nature of physical and mental illness. (June)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780942299960
Publisher:
Zone Books
Publication date:
04/19/1995
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Oliver Sacks
... The global theory that Goldstein and Lashley and the Gestaltists thought may now have emerged in Edelman's theory of Neuro-Darwinism and his concept of the brain as a sort of society, in which every part is dynamically connected with every other.
— From the Foreword by Oliver Sacks
Israel Rosenfield
Kurt Goldstein's famous work, The Organism, is a broad and powerful challenge to the assumptions of classical neurology, physiology, philosophy, and Freudian psychology. The challenge remains as relevant today as when it was first published in 1933; for it is the issues at the heart of Goldstein's brilliant and fascinating book, that are essential to contemporary discussions in psychology and the brain sciences. The Organism is a must for all who are interested in today's debate about the nature of the human mind.
— Israel Rosenfield, author of The Strange, Familiar and Forgotten
Anne Harrington
Kurt Goldstein's vision of the 'organism' - a creature driven to achieve actualization and prepared to confront anxiety and vulnerability to do so - was forged in the traumas of World War I, and the difficult years in Germany that followed. Yet Goldstein's The Organism is a deep, eloquent work that has transcended the time and place of its writing. It asks the question we can still hear today, can we be rigorous neuroscientists and yet create a more genuinely 'human' neurobiology that does justice to the existential struggles and experiences of human beings in distress?
— Anne Harrington, Harvard University

Meet the Author

Oliver Sacks, a neurologist, is the author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings, Musicophilia, and other books.

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