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Vår sinnrika kropp och hur den utforskats (1978)

av Jonathan Miller

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
245479,863 (3.87)1
"In this original and highly entertaining book, Dr. Jonathan Miller considers the functioning of the body as a subject of private experience. He explores our attitudes towards our bodies, our astonishing ignorance of them, and our inability to read our body's signals. Taking as his starting point the experience of pain, Dr. Miller analyzes the elaborate social process of "falling ill", considers the physical foundations of "dis-ease" and looks at the types of individuals man has historically attributed with the power of healing. His explanations are lucid, wide-ranging and whole-heartedly entertaining"--Publisher's description.… (mer)
  1. 10
    De vetenskapliga revolutionernas struktur av Thomas S. Kuhn (Thruston)
    Thruston: The nature of the scientific process set out in Kuhn's masterly account, is one of the central themes in Miller's entertaining history of medicine and the way humans perceive themselves.
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Visar 4 av 4
Genial deeply informed, full of new insights ESP thru deft use of metaphor. Much new to me about blood, breath, perception, locomotion everything. Even the occasional joke, to remind us of the comedian. An overview and fresh angle on many things, showing the creative man of theatre mingled with the polymath. Takes the role of dilettante to the level of genius. Il uomo universale still lives. ( )
  vguy | Apr 9, 2012 |
An engaging read about the nature of scientific thought, the development of medicine since ancient times, and our own perceptions of our own bodies. Very nicely presented in this Pimlico paperback edition too. Miller writes very well, with many vivid and memorable images; never patronizing, always interesting and thought provoking. ( )
  Thruston | Apr 11, 2010 |
The companion book to the landmark TV series of the 70s. It is one of the earliest serious television programmes I can remember watching, and I would rank it with Life on Earth, and The Ascent of Man (also early television memories). Jonathan Miller, perhaps Britain's greatest know-it-all, and best known neurologist, presented the show with the same affable style that he used in his stand up routines for Beyond the Fringe, with the same effect. You felt that he was very knowledgeable, and that he was sharing his knowledge with you to the best of his ability. ( )
  Anome | Oct 27, 2008 |
This book is a tie-in to the PBS series of the same name. Jonathan Miller shows the breadth of his interests with a tour of the latest in knowledge of the human body. While it is more than twenty years old this is still an entertaining journey. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jul 31, 2007 |
Visar 4 av 4
I prefer the book to the television series because it is more concise. It has left out some episodes, but these are not essential. On television, Miller has mutual fun with some highly verbal Cockneys on the streets of London, asking them where their heart, liver, and spleen are located—a useful illustration of our ignorance of our insides. A patient with appendicitis is asked where his pain started. He answers that it began on the train going home. The doctor dismisses this silly answer since he wants to know where in the abdomen the pain started. The book, magnificently illustrated, allows the reader to consider how he questions his body and how others in other cultures and times have done so. The book cannot include the episode when Miller did a post-mortem on television, which earned him the title of "Dissector-General of the BBC." Still, the reader will learn a lot about his own body and his attitudes will be changed. Even though I am obviously familiar with the subject matter, I found many ideas and attitudes which were new to me and very provocative.
tillagd av SnootyBaronet | ändraThe New York Review of Books, Pat Wall
 
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Of all the objects in the world, the human body has a peculiar status: it is not only possessed by the person who has it, it also possesses and constitutes him.
Preface:  This book has arisen because I was commissioned by the  BBC to do a thirteen-part television series on the history of medicine.
Introduction to the Pimlico Edition

Confronted by the somewhat alarming prospect of seeing this book re-published after more than twenty years, I was relieved to discover that it had dated less than I feared.
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We talk about feeling liverish or having heartburn or chills on the kidney, but all these visceral images have to be invented, and our only source of information for the inventions is what we have been told. We reconstruct our insides from pictures in advertisements for patent medicines, from half-remembered school science, from pieces of offal on butchers’ slabs and all sorts of medical folklore.
These promptings may account for the otherwise inexplicable fact that the French seem to have far more trouble with their liver than the English do. It is hard to believe that this organ is so much more threatened in France than it is in England, in spite of what we have been told about their drinking habits. It seems more reasonable to assume that the French interpret their symptoms in the light of a national fantasy about the liver and unconsciously reshape their sensations in terms of this phantom organ. The English, on the other hand, are obsessed with their bowels. When an Englishman complains about constipation, you never know whether he is talking about his regularity, his lassitude, his headaches, or his depression. Once an organ gains hold on the collective imagination, its influence is almost invariably exaggerated, and a wide range of symptoms are explained in terms of it.
When an animal is large enough to need lungs, however, its bulk is so great that the physical diffusion of oxygen will not be fast enough to satisfy the insatiable demands of its working tissues. There has to be an efficient transport system capable of carrying oxygen from the lungs to every part of the living body. The evolution of the respiratory system is therefore associated with the development of an energetic heart and rapaciously absorptive blood.
Anyone who has had a serious attack of vomiting would probably find it hard to appreciate its usefulness. But it is just as indispensable as coughing and just as complicated: it is not simply intestinal action in reverse. In 1813 the French physiologist François Magendie published a pamphlet rather unpromisingly titled Mémoire sur le vomissement, in which he described an experiment which proved that vomiting is not performed by the stomach as such, but by the voluntary muscles of the diaphragm and the abdominal wall.
Theologians who use the argument from design as a proof of the existence of God frequently refer to the optical perfection of the eyeball. Ironically, this is the one part of the system where the argument from design falters, for the image projected on to the retina is so blurred and unsteady that if one tried to develop an ordinary film from it one would find it almost impossible to reconcile the smeared, hazy print with the crisp, sparkling detail of what one perceives through the eyes. In the early stages of transmission from retina to brain some of these errors are computed out: blurred contours are sharpened and a start is made on preparing the information for the part it will eventually play in conscious perception. In some ways this process resembles the image intensification which enables astro-physicists to build up pin-sharp images of planetary terrain.
It was only when the pulmonary circulation was accepted as an established fact that the results of this experiment could be recognised as significant. Meanwhile, as is so often the case, it was more convenient to make an ad hoc modification of the existing theory.
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"In this original and highly entertaining book, Dr. Jonathan Miller considers the functioning of the body as a subject of private experience. He explores our attitudes towards our bodies, our astonishing ignorance of them, and our inability to read our body's signals. Taking as his starting point the experience of pain, Dr. Miller analyzes the elaborate social process of "falling ill", considers the physical foundations of "dis-ease" and looks at the types of individuals man has historically attributed with the power of healing. His explanations are lucid, wide-ranging and whole-heartedly entertaining"--Publisher's description.

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