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Functional Nerve Diseases

    Naturevolume 79page5 (1908) | Download Citation

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    Abstract

    DURING recent years Dr. Schofield has written many books on different forms of nervous disorder, but the present volume is one of the most interesting. Here he deals with the so-called “functional” nerve diseases. This term “functional,” although open to many objections, is a useful one, for by it we can convey that the ailment in question belongs to that class of disease which is independent of gross morbid anatomy changes. The author states it thus:—“that organic changes exist when life has passed but functional changes have then all disappeared.” Later, he goes on to say that “disease, au fond, has always a material basis, whether recognisable or not, and “functional” and “organic” are but expressions of our ignorance that will one day be superfluous.“ The “Psychology of the Brain” is the subject-matter of one of the opening chapters. Dr. Schofield does not attempt to go deeply into any psychological problems; in truth, he deals with this subject almost too widely to be entirely helpful to the reader. He divides the brain into three main divisions:—(1) The cortex, as the seat of the spirit or directing intelligence; (2) the mid-brain, the seat of the soul or the mere active animal life; (3) the lower-brain, which is the seat of the body or the mere physical existence. The author definitely states that he writes this book from the dualist standpoint; “that is, in the belief that mind is not the product of matter, but distinct from it, and that life is mind in action.” He urges upon the student to get rid of the idea that consciousness is mind or that it is the only proof of mind. “Mind,” he writes, “may be conscious, subconscious, or unconscious.” But he only uses these terms provisionally until it is possible for the student to understand that mind means all mind, and not only that part of it which we choose to call consciousness. When discussing the general ætiology of functional nerve diseases Dr. Schofield writes:—

    Functional Nerve Diseases.

    By A. T. Schofield. Pp. iv+324. (London: Methuen and Co., n.d.) Price 7s. 6d. net.

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    https://doi.org/10.1038/079005a0

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