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Sarasin, P. (1924). Naturgeschichte Der Seele Und Ihres Bewusstwerdens: By E. Bleuler. (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1921.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 5:227-230.

(1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 5:227-230

Naturgeschichte Der Seele Und Ihres Bewusstwerdens: By E. Bleuler. (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1921.)

Review by:
Ph. Sarasin

The suggestive studies which we constantly receive from the pen of the Zurich psychiatrist amply justify our interest in his most recent publication. This book, which calls itself a primer of psychology, professes to give not only a compendious description of things mental but also a natural history of the mind. Thus the work claims to be based on natural science.

After a short discussion of the means whereby we may become acquainted with our minds Bleuler proceeds to derive consciousness from the functioning of the central nervous system. He constructs his study on the thesis that the mind is a function of the brain, and not infrequently in the course of his argument he harks back to the organic basis. Consciousness is regarded as a function of memory:

Hence there is no reason to seek for any conditioning factors of consciousness other than those often named—memory and functional unity (p. 44).

The point which he feels must be established is this:

How the well-known physical functions of the central nervous system, amongst which, of course, the most important part is once more played by memory, of themselves and necessarily constitute a personality which is bound to become conscious! (p. 47).

The subject of the 'psychic apparatus' is developed in every direction (memory, thought, affectivity) with reference to Semon's theory of the engrams. The author does not refrain from entering into philosophical questions (Kant, Deussen) and discusses religiosity and religions, finally launching forth into the ocean of philosophical views of life.

A number of questions are dealt with, but more still are thrown out.

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