Brain, Mind, and Medicine: Charles Richet and the Origins of Physiological Psychology
Charles Richet was one of the most remarkable figures in the history of medical science. He is best known for his work on the body's immune reactions to foreign substances for which he won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1913. Richet was also a poet, playwright, historian, bibliographer, political activist, classical scholar, and pioneer in aircraft design.
Brain, Mind, and Medicine is the first major biography of Richet in any language. Wolf brilliantly situates Richet's work in the intellectual currents of Europe during the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Richet was a contemporary of Wilhelm Wundt and William James. All three considered psychology to be an aspect of physiology governed by biological laws. But while James and Wundt considered consciousness as a process influenced by experience without much reference to neural structures, Richet's focus was on the brain itself as shaped by genetics and experience and serving as the organ of the mind.
Brain, Mind, and Medicine illuminates a significant chapter in scientific and cultural history. It should be read by medical scientists, historians, and individuals interested in medicine and psychology.
“Wolf presents Richet’s accomplishments in a highly readable book, describing both the social and medical influences on Richet’s career… Wolf’s penetrating analysis of both the strengths and weaknesses of this highly influential polymath will engage advanced readers interested in physiology and the history of medicine.” -- G. B. Rollman, Choice
“Richet (1850-1935) was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1912 for his discovery of anaphylaxis, but his other contributions in gastric secretion, immunology, serotherapy, calorimetry and neurology, never received the recognition for originality he often thought they deserved . . . [Brain, Mind, and Medicine] contains important material... This text convinces one of the intrinsic importance of Richet as a subject of study in the history of French Physiology. The array of his work, his methods, ideas, and professional associations penetrate deeply into many aspects of the research-medical world of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.” --Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
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