Article ID: CBB958326622

Disciplining Physiological Psychology: Cinematographs as Epistemic Devices in the Work of Henri Bergson and Charles Scott Sherrington (2017)


This paper arrives at a normative position regarding the relevance of Henri Bergson's philosophy to historical enquiry. It does so via experimental historical analysis of the adaptation of cinematographic devices to physiological investigation. Bergson's philosophy accorded well with a mode of physiological psychology in which claims relating to mental and physiological existence interacted. Notably however, cinematograph-centered experimentation by British physiologists including Charles Scott Sherrington, as well as German-trained psychologists such as Hugo Münsterberg and Max Wertheimer, contributed to a cordoning-off of psychological from physiological questioning during the early twentieth century. Bergson invested in a mode of intellectual practice in which psychological claims had direct relevance to the interpretation of physiological nature. The in-part cinematograph-inspired breakdown of this mode had significance for subsequent interpretations of his philosophy. It is suggested that this experimental particularization of Bergson's contentions indicates that any adaptation of his thought for historical enquiry must be disciplinarily specific.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Brain, Robert Michael; (2012)
Self-Projection: Hugo Münsterberg on Empathy and Oscillation in Cinema Spectatorship (/isis/citation/CBB001251565/)

Article Stoffers, Manuel; (2003)
Münsterberg's Nightmare: Psychology and History in fin-de-siècle Germany and America (/isis/citation/CBB000300900/)

Article German A. Duarte; (2017)
"Analysis Situs." A Survey of Spaces en devenir (/isis/citation/CBB765530267/)

Article Smith, Roger; (2001)
Representations of Mind: C. S. Sherrington and Scientific Opinion, c. 1930--1950 (/isis/citation/CBB000200410/)

Thesis Shami, Noel J.; (2002)
The Contributions of Hugo Münsterberg to Forensic Psychology: A Historical Analysis (/isis/citation/CBB001562206/)

Article Zina B. Ward; (2023)
Muscles or Movements? Representation in the Nascent Brain Sciences (/isis/citation/CBB741559709/)

Essay Review Antonio A. P. Videira; (2017)
Neither Einstein nor Bergson, but Both! (/isis/citation/CBB468477048/)

Book Alexandre Lefebvre; Nils F. Schott; (2020)
Interpreting Bergson: Critical Essays (/isis/citation/CBB136030108/)

Book Max Wertheimer; Viktor Sarris; (2020)
Max Wertheimer Productive Thinking (/isis/citation/CBB044488405/)

Book James, William; Ignas K. Skrupskelis, Elizabeth M. Berkeley; (2001)
The Correspondence of William James; Vol. 9: July 1899-1901 (/isis/citation/CBB000102297/)

Article Blatter, Jeremy; Casper, Stephen T.; (2015)
Screening the Psychological Laboratory: Hugo Münsterberg, Psychotechnics, and the Cinema, 1892--1916 (/isis/citation/CBB001552002/)

Article Wulz, Monika; (2012)
Vom Nutzen des Augenblicks für die Projekte der Wissenschaft (/isis/citation/CBB001210216/)

Book Ansell-Pearson, Keith; (2002)
Philosophy and the Adventure of the Virtual: Bergson and the Time of Life (/isis/citation/CBB000201511/)

Book Heath Massey; (2015)
The Origin of Time: Heidegger and Bergson (/isis/citation/CBB452458752/)

Book Larry Sommer McGrath; (2020)
Making Spirit Matter: Neurology, Psychology, and Selfhood in Modern France (/isis/citation/CBB587674117/)

Thesis Kamerbeek, Christopher; (2010)
The Ghost and the Corpse: Figuring the Mind/Brain Complex at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (/isis/citation/CBB001567186/)

Book Rockett, Kevin; Rockett, Emer; (2011)
Magic Lantern, Panorama and Moving Picture Shows in Ireland, 1786--1909 (/isis/citation/CBB001201878/)

Book Wolf, Stewart; (1993)
Brain, Mind, and Medicine: Charles Richet and the Origins of Physiological Psychology (/isis/citation/CBB001422096/)

Thesis Wolfe, Donna Lee; (2002)
Freud's “Project” and Neuroscience (/isis/citation/CBB001562156/)

Authors & Contributors
Cucullu, Lois
Wright, John S
Scandura, Jani
Kloppenberg, James
James, William
Ignas K. Skrupskelis, Elizabeth M. Berkeley
Science in Context
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Science and Education
Journal of the History of Biology
University of Virginia Press
Four Courts Press
Transaction Publishers
Pepperdine University
Carlos Albizu University
Mind and body
Physiological psychology
Motion pictures; cinema; movies
Bergson, Henri Louis
Münsterberg, Hugo
James, William
James, Henry
Sherrington, Charles Scott
Freud, Sigmund
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
18th century
United States
Harvard University

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment