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Nersessian, E. (1992). L'Identité Psychosomatique. Une Approche Par La Théorie Générale Des Systèmes. (Psychosomatic Identity. An Approach Following General Systems Theory.): By Henri Bianchi. Paris: Éditions Aubier, 1990. 353 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:114-116.
(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:114-116
L'Identité Psychosomatique. Une Approche Par La Théorie Générale Des Systèmes. (Psychosomatic Identity. An Approach Following General Systems Theory.): By Henri Bianchi. Paris: Éditions Aubier, 1990. 353 pp.
Review by: Edward Nersessian
Recent major advances in the neurosciences have once again focused attention on the ancient mind-brain conundrum. In a somewhat rough and schematic way, the work on this subject can be divided into two groups, the first encompassing those studies that approach the issue in a global way and the second, basic neuroscience research. Arguments over monism, dualism, and Roger Sperry's "New Mentalism" belong in the first group, as well as hypotheses that attempt to explain how the mind comes about from the activities of the brain. Penrose's proposal of a "new quantum theory" and Pribram's use of the transform domain are among the newer ideas to emerge in this area. In the second group are the studies (primarily neuropsychological in nature) that focus on various functions or processes, such as memory. The research of Squire and Schacter belong here, as well as the work of the psychoanalyst Reiser. In addition, there is the more basic neuroscience research that examines changes at the cellular level which may influence mental functions. The work of Schwartz and Kandel on aplysia falls into this category, as does recent work on the activity of NMDA receptors and its possible connection with memory functioning.
In this schema, the two groups are divided along the lines of whether the approach is global or "from above," so to speak, or alternatively, "from below," starting from the biochemical and physiological and building "up" towards mental processes and functions. Though both approaches are valid and are, to a degree, complementary, the more global approach does require theorizing at a level which is, at present, unverifiable.
Bianchi's scholarly work, L'Identité psychosomatique, belongs to the first group, while, at the same time, it is very well informed by the findings of the second group. Bianchi proposes a holistic view of the mind-body relationship, one that is anchored in a systems-theory
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