In the Morgue
In the Morgue
Theodor Meynert, Pathological Anatomy, and the Social Structure of Dissection
This chapter shows how Theodor Meynert's appeal to a version of reflex physiology allowed him to participate in the new enthusiasm for pathological anatomy in Vienna medicine, which had risen to prominence in the political and cultural conditions created by the failure of the 1848 revolutions. To be able to apply the reflex (which previously had been restricted to spinal action) to the localization project (which took as its object the brain), Meynert revised the model to make it appropriate for describing higher functions. Drawing on the language of association psychology, Meynert argued that between the afferent sensory arc and the efferent motor arc, there existed an “association system,” which explained the complexity and “plasticity” of brain function. A modified reflex physiology thus emerged as a necessary resource for the localization project. At the same time, the appeal to associationism helped Meynert address a problem resulting from the organization of the Vienna General Hospital. Because pathological anatomy was centralized there, Meynert had to rely on his clinical colleagues for the description of symptoms that he would correlate with anatomical findings. Meynert's psychologization of the reflex paradigm helped facilitate the communication between somatically-inclined pathological anatomists and psychologically-oriented psychiatrists.
Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.