Article ID: CBB001251995

La théorie cérébrale d'un naturaliste spiritualiste, Henri-Marie Ducrotay (2012)


The theory of the brain of a spiritualist naturalist, Henri-Marie Ducrotay de Blainville This paper tries to take stock of Henri-Marie Ducrotay de Blainville's theories regarding the nervous system. This reconstruction draws not only on what had been published by the naturalist, but also on archives that have not yet been exploited, most notably personal notebooks in which Blainville wrote down the content of his lectures. From these sources emerges a somewhat original conception of the nervous system that may be characterized as the conjunction of three features : a comparative approach aiming at a genetic description of the nervous system within the animal hierarchy ; a philosophical stance that may be labelled spiritualist and which disputes a strictly naturalistic understanding of localization ; and a perspective which is very close to Franz Joseph Gall's claims, be they methodological (with the so-called psychological method), anatomical (with the concept of ganglion ), or psychophysiological (with the claim of the plurality of faculties), this last feature certainly being the most salient. Accordingly, this study enables one to underline the importance of Gall's claims about the nervous system at a time, the early 19th century, when the experimental method was far from being the sole paradigm of physiology.

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Authors & Contributors
Eling, Paul
Lazar, J. Wayne
Chvátal, Alexandr
Malabou, Catherine
Constable, Marianne
Davis, Whitney
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
科学史研究 Kagakusi Kenkyu (History of Science)
Jahrbuch für Europäische Wissenschaftskultur
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
History of Psychology
Harvard University
University of California, Berkeley
Fordham University Press
Yale University
Oxford University Press
Nervous system
Gall, Franz Joseph
Blainville, Henri Marie Ducrotay de
Comte, Auguste
Broussais, François Joseph Victor
Bichat, Marie François Xavier
Soury, Jules
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
17th century
United States
Paris (France)
Vilnius (Lithuania or Poland)
Salpêtrière, Paris

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