Marc Jeannerod

Of Mental Physiology A History of the Relationship Between Biology and Psychology Publication date : April 1, 1996

A relative newcomer to the world of science, psychology gives rise to a rivalry between two older siblings, philosophy and biology. This enduring conflict between materialism and spiritualism, which continues today in other forms, without adoubt was the driving force behind its progress. What we know today about the spirit is a result of this history. Biology and psychology have shaped each other in turn. It is impossible to discern precisely where these two disciplines overlap, nor can we grasp what we know today about the brain and the spirit without understanding their common genesis. With erudition and clarity, Marc Jeannerod retraces this long confrontation, demonstrating how the apposition of these sciences resulted in answers to questions regarding the nature of reflexes, the uniqueness of the spirit, the localization of "intelligence" (or, in biology, the "localization of faculties"), the development of thought and the identification of deviances and pathologies. In this book, scholars and disciplines confront each other to resurrect questions that once seemed resolved, and to analyze and reformulate them within other contexts. A riveting study on how two centuries of spiritual quarrelling made possible the modern attempt to establish the inner workings of the mind.

A professor of physiology at the Université Claude Bernard, Marc Jeannerod is also the director of an Inserm neurological research team in Lyon. He is the author of Cerveau machine and co author, with Jacques Hochmann, of Is Anyone there ? (editions Odile Jacob, 1991).