MÜLLER, Johannes.

Ueber die phantastischen Gesichtserscheinungen. Eine physiologische Untersuchung mit einer physiologischen Urkunde des Aristoteles über den Traum, den Philosophen und Aerzten gewidmet.

Coblenz: bei Jacob Hölscher.1826

8vo, pp. x, 117. Some foxing and light browning. Twentieth century half calf, uncut, original green upper wrapper bearing the book label of Edgar Goldschmid (1881–1957), bibliographer of pathology, bound in.

FIRST EDITION of Müller’s second book on specific nerve energies. In his Zur vergleichenden Physiologie des Gesichtssinnes, published earlier in the same year, he had stated his law of specific energies, that each sensory system responds to various stimuli only in a fixed, characteristic way — the eye with a sensation of light, the ear with a sensation of sounds, and so forth. “In the present book he showed that the sensory system of the eye not only reacts to external optical stimuli but also can be excited by interior stimuli arising from organic malfunction, lingering mental images, or the play of the imagination… Müller demonstrated that optical perceptions can arise without an adequate external stimulus. When the stimulus is mistakenly assumed to have originated outside the body, the result — depending on the situation — is the reporting of religious or magical visions, or the seeing of ghosts” (DSB). Müller’s observations on hallucinations, clairvoyance, and dreams in this book are important in the history of psychiatry. G&M 1456. Grolier, 100 Books Famous in Science, 76. See Fulton, Selected Readings in the History of Physiology, pp. 289–291 (according to Fulton, Müller’s law was first stated in the present book). Rothschuh, Geschichte der Physiologie, p. 115. Norman catalogue 1567.


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