Johannes Peter Müller (1801 - 1858) fysioloog waardeerde Spinoza's leer der passies

Müller, geboren in Koblenz, volgde in die plaats het gymnasium. Hij ging medicijnen studeren aan de Universiteit van Bonn, waar hij in 1822 promoveerde. Hij trok daarna naar de Universiteit van Berlijn om de colleges van Karl Asmund Rudolphi te volgen. In 1824 begon hij zich te specialiseren in fysiologie en vergelijkende anatomie. Van 1833 tot 1840 gaf hij het Handbuch der Physiologie uit, dat een groot succes werd. In 1854 kreeg hij voor zijn belangrijke wetenschappelijke prestaties de Copley Medal van het Royal Society of London. [cf. wiki]

Zijn panpsychisme
"Müller’s Handbuch der Physiologie contains an extensive section on the soul (II, 505–588). This emphasis is understandable, in the light of his initial adherence to the ideas of Naturphilosophie. Starting from the philosophy and psychology of Aristotle, Giordano Bruno, Spinoza, Schelling, Hegel, and especially Herbart, he approached the questions of the identity of the psychic principle and the vital principle, the divisibility of the soul, and the seat of the soul. He arrived at the following alternative: The soul, which utilizes the organization of the brain in its activity, is either foreign to the physical body, not a force of organic nature, and only temporarily united with the body; or else it is inherent in all matter, a force of matter itself. Müller appears to have inclined more to the panpsychic conception when he wrote:

The relationship of the psychic forces to matter differs from that of other physical forces to matter solely because the spiritual forces appear only in organic and especially animal bodies, [whereas] the general physical forces, which are also called imponderables [light, electricity], are much more commonly active and widespread in nature. Since, however, the organic bodies take root in inorganic nature and draw their nourishment from it, … it remains uncertain whether or not the rudiments [Anlage] of psychic activities, like the common physical forces, is present in all matter and attains expression in a definite manner through the existing structures [brain and nervous system] [Handbuch, II, 553]."
[Uit de Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography cf.]  

Gedurende de 19e jaarlijkse bijeenkomst van de International Society for the History of the Neurosciences die van 30 juni tot 5 juli 2014 in het Palais des Académies in Brussel wordt gehouden zal Filip Buyse spreken over "Müller, Spinoza and Descartes: The Affections of the Body."

Door zijn nieuwsgierig makende abstract [dat hier en hier te vinden is] over te nemen, laat ik Filip Buyse a.h.w. dit blog schrijven (waarvoor hij ook de aanleiding gaf).

Johannes Peter Müller (1801 - 1858) argued in his monumental work, Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen für Vorlesungen1 (1834), that it is impossible to improve on Spinoza’s (1632-1677) analyses of the passions: “In Hinsicht der statischen Verhältnisse der Leidenschaften unter sich ist es nicht möglich etwas Besseres zu liefern, als was Spinoza mit unübertrefflicher Meisterschaft gelehrt.” 2

Müller, considered the father of contemporary physiology, in fact refers several times to Spinoza‘s philosophy in this work, and in the well-known English translation of his Elements of Physiology (1837-43), even reprints Spinoza’s aphorisms from the third book of the Ethics. While much attention is given to Spinoza’s philosophy by neurobiologists today, there is no recent research on the link between Müller, the 19th-century physiologist, and Spinoza, the 17th-century philosopher. Scholars such as Antonio Damasio3 and Jean-Pierre Changeux4 have still yet to comment on this important connection. In this paper, I will first attempt to situate Spinoza’s theory of emotions in the 17th-century context of Dutch Cartesianism. I will then examine Müller’s ideas about Spinoza and his philosophy. Finally, I will endeavour to figure out why Müller decided to base his theory of the passions on Spinoza‘s philosophy, and not on that of other influential philosophers such as Descartes (1596-1650). This paper will help not only to clarify the relation between Müller and Spinoza, but also that between Müller and the myriad physiologists who were subsequently inspired by his work.

Voor de noten verwijs ik naar de bronnen, cf. hier en hier