Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind

Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind

by George Makari


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A brilliant and comprehensive history of the creation of the modern Western mind.

Soul Machine takes us back to the origins of modernity, a time when a crisis in religious authority and the scientific revolution led to searching questions about the nature of human inner life. This is the story of how a new concept—the mind—emerged as a potential solution, one that was part soul and part machine, but fully neither.

In this groundbreaking work, award-winning historian George Makari shows how writers, philosophers, physicians, and anatomists worked to construct notions of the mind as not an ethereal thing, but a natural one. From the ascent of Oliver Cromwell to the fall of Napoleon, seminal thinkers like Hobbes, Locke, Diderot, and Kant worked alongside often-forgotten brain specialists, physiologists, and alienists in the hopes of mapping the inner world. Conducted in a cauldron of political turmoil, these frequently shocking, always embattled efforts would give rise to psychiatry, mind sciences such as phrenology, and radically new visions of the self. Further, they would be crucial to the establishment of secular ethics and political liberalism. Boldly original, wide-ranging, and brilliantly synthetic, Soul Machine gives us a masterful, new account of the making of the modern Western mind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393353464
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/29/2016
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 662,873
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

George Makari is a psychiatrist, historian, and author, most recently of Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind. Director of the DeWitt Wallace Institute and professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, he lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Part I The Lost Souls of Modernity

Chapter 1 A Soirée with Mr. Spirit and Mr. Flesh 3

Chapter 2 Science and the Thing That Thinks 42

Chapter 3 Witches, Melancholies, and Fanatics 65

Chapter 4 A Crisis of Conscience 86

Part II The English Mind

Chapter 5 "Myself in a Storm" 103

Chapter 6 The Sagacious Locke 127

Chapter 7 Bedlam in Britannia 150

Chapter 8 Sympathy, Idea, Nerve 166

Chapter 9 The Cure of a Lunatic King 188

Part III From French Esprit to Alienation

Chapter 10 The French Sensationalists 211

Chapter 11 Vitalism, the Missing Link 239

Chapter 12 Honest Jean-Jacques and the Morals of Sensibility 267

Chapter 13 Dr. Mesmer's Invisible Fire 298

Chapter 14 Journey to the End of Reason 329

Chapter 15 Citizens and Alienists 354

Part IV The Serpent That Ate Its Tail

Chapter 16 Kant and the Age of Self-Criticism 397

Chapter 17 Rhapsodies for Psyche 425

Chapter 18 The Promise of Phrenology 450

Chapter 19 The Mind Eclipsed 475

Epilogue 503

Notes 513

Acknowledgments 599

Illustration Credits 601

Index 605

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