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Titel: in Cyrillic:] Refleksy golovnago mozga.
Verlag: St Petersburg, A. Golovachov, 1866
8vo (171 x 115 mm), pp [iv] ii 186; a very good copy in calf-backed boards printed with the bookseller's label ('Biblioteka Semennikovykh' in Cyrillic) and address and with their stamp on first page. £3250First edition in book form of Sechenov's greatest work, 'The Reflexes of the Brain', in which the physiological bases of various psychic processes are described. Sechenov (1829-1905), 'the father of Russian physiology [as Pavlov designated him], made his greatest contributions to neurophysiology in his studies of reflex activity of the brain. Sechenov considered that cerebral reflex activity arose from stimulation of peripheral sense organs, was mediated through the psychic realm and was the source of voluntary actions. He believed further that reflex activity could be modulated by other brain centers, particularly the midbrain, which he believed could produce inhibition' (McHenry, Garrison's History of neurology p 226).This work was first published in the medical journal Meditsinsky Vestnik, nos 47-48, in 1863. Censors had forced Sechenov to change the intended title 'An attempt to introduce physiology as the basis of psychic processes' to 'Reflexes of the brain'. When the book was published it was considered subversive to public morals and social order, and Sechenov was indicted, but the charges were dropped the following year. The book was immediately attacked by philosophers and psychologists, who objected to his assertion that psychological activity had a physiological basis.Sechenov proposed 'the theory of cerebral behavior mechanisms, according to which all conscious and unconscious acts are reflexes in terms of their structure ("means of origin"). This theory provided the basis for the development of neurophysiology and objective psychology in Russia, including the investigations of Pavlov and Bekhterev' (DSB). 'The immediate reaction to Sechenov's theory of brain reflexes as one of opposition, but support for it soon came. His thesis that psychic phenomena were akin to the essentially somatic acts that constituted nervous activity found an important supporter in his fellow countryman Pavlov, who described Sechenov's monograph on Reflexes of the brain as "an attempt, brilliant and truly extraordinary for the time . to picture our subjective world in a purely physiological aspect"' (Clark and O'Malley, The human brain and spinal cord p 366). Pavlov's investigations of conditioned reflexes was directly inspired by this work.The Harvard catalogue gives the date of publication as 1867, with the following note: 'for date of publication see N. Kanevets "Tsenzura i nauka," in Russkiia vedomosti (1905, 116, 5)'.Haymaker and Schiller, Founders of neurology, pp 265-66 ('a classic'); Parkinson p 362; OCLC lists copies at UCLA, Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, New York Academy of Medicine, and University of Washington, Harvard. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 2531
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