Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind

October 4, 2016
Lecturer: George Makari, MD
Discussant: Jerome Wakefield, PhD

Accustomed as we are to the debates around the validity of neuro-psychoanalysis, or psychiatry’s pains to integrate (or not integrate) biological and psychosocial models, few of us are familiar with the very particular historical context in which these debates took shape in modern Western history. Soul Machine, Dr. Makari’s critically-acclaimed second book, traces the dramatic clash between philosophers, religious authorities, and scientific revolutionaries as they struggled to define what it means to be human.

Director of the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry, Dr. Makari is Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Adjunct Professor at both Rockefeller University and the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. His first book Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis, was published in 2008.

Dr. Wakefield is University Professor, Professor of Social Work, Professor of Psychiatry, Honorary Faculty at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education, and affiliate faculty in Bioethics and in the Center for Ancient Studies, at New York University, and coauthor of “The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder” (Oxford), named best psychology book of 2007 by the Association of Professional and Scholarly Publishers; he is currently completing a book reexamining Freud’s case of Little Hans from philosophy-of-science and Foucauldian perspectives, to be published by Routledge.

Learning Objectives: After the lecture the participant should be able to

  • Describe the role of the French and English Enlightenment in challenging religious/Aristotelian conceptualizations of the relationship between the soul and the body.
  • Evaluate the impact of this history on contemporary scientific and psychoanalytic debates about the nature of the human mind.