MÜLLER, Johannes.

Zur vergleichenden Physiologie des Gesichtssinnes des Menschen und der Thiere nebst einem Versuch über die Bewegung der Augen und über den menschlichen Blick.

Leipzig: bei C. Cnobloch,1826

8vo, pp. xxxii, 462 (2) errata and imprint, 1 folding letterpress table and 8 folding and stilted engraved plates (some partly hand-coloured). Contemporary green boards (ends of spine and joints rather rubbed), label lettered in manuscript on spine.

FIRST EDITION. The foundations of experimental sense-physiology. Johannes Müller (1801–1858) was only 25 years old when this substantial work was published. It records his discovery that each sensory system responds to various stimuli only in a fixed, characteristic way—or, as Müller stated, with the energy specific to itself: the eye always with a sensation of light, the ear always with a sensation of sound, and so forth. This “law of specific nerve energies” led to the insight that man does not perceive the processes of the external world but only the alterations they produce in his sensory systems. The book contains a wealth of new findings on human and animal vision, brilliant investigations into the compound eyes of insects and crabs, and truly perceptive analyses of human sight, including, on p. 73, the famous explanation of the colour sensations produced by pressure on the retina. G&M 1257 and 1495. Nodenskiöld, History of biology, pp. 383–384. McHenry, Garrison’s history of neurology, p. 201. See DSB.


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