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Reich, W. (1927). Die Psychoide Als Prinzip Der Organischen Entwicklung. By Professor E. Bleuler. (Springer, Berlin, 1925.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 8:105-107.

(1927). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 8:105-107

Die Psychoide Als Prinzip Der Organischen Entwicklung. By Professor E. Bleuler. (Springer, Berlin, 1925.)

Review by:
Wilhelm Reich

In logical development of the ideas advanced in Naturgeschichte der Seele und ihres Bewusstwerdens, the author here attempts to prove that living matter is 'ensouled, ' i.e. that 'something that can be called a soul' creates life and form and function. This soul of the organic—which the author calls 'the psychoid'—is, however, not imported into matter from without, since it is not conceivable apart from matter. It is rather a 'functional complex, a mnemic activity, which in a very simple form exists even in the inanimate world. In its more complex development, it appears first as the psychoid, an entity comparable to the human soul, active and purposive, and finally as the psyche, a specialized function of the cerebral cortex.' It is wrong to seek to explain lower forms of life by the functions of the human psyche; in reality the explanation of the psyche is to be found in the functions of 'living matter.' The author intends 'the psychoid' to be taken as 'a purely scientific conception, ' in opposition to the philosophical 'psychoid' of Driesch, whose theory of an entelechy as a purposive, developmental principle he rejects. 'The biological functions' of reflex-action and development of species do not depend upon a primary teleological or regulative function; they are to be explained as the results of a recollection, i.e. they are simply in a causal sequence, not final.

Bleuler is, however, not completely successful in his attempt to contrast the philosophical conception of living matter with the scientific. He is much more clear and convincing when he refutes the mechanistic theory, and the doctrine that accident and selection is the sole principle of development.

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