Science, Nature & Math History & Philosophy Books

Investigating the Body in the Victorian Asylum: Doctors, Patients, and Practices (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.This book explores how the body was investigated in the late nineteenth-century asylum in Britain. As more and more Victorian asylum doctors looked to the bodily fabric to reveal the ‘truth’ of mental disease, a whole host of techniques and technologies were brought to bear upon the patient's body. These practices encompassed the clinical and the pathological, from testing the patient's reflexes to dissecting the brain. Investigating the Body in the Victorian Asylum takes a unique approach to the topic, conducting a chapter-by-chapter dissection of the body. It considers how asylum doctors viewed and investigated the skin, muscles, bones, brain, and bodily fluids. The book demonstrates the importance of the body in nineteenth-century psychiatry as well as how the asylum functioned as a site of research, and will be of value to historians of psychiatry, the body, and scientific practice.

Foundations of Quantum Theory: From Classical Concepts to Operator Algebras (Fundamental Theories of Physics Book 188)

This book studies the foundations of quantum theory through its relationship to classical physics. This idea goes back to the Copenhagen Interpretation (in the original version due to Bohr and Heisenberg), which the author relates to the mathematical formalism of operator algebras originally created by von Neumann. The book therefore includes comprehensive appendices on functional analysis and C*-algebras, as well as a briefer one on logic, category theory, and topos theory. Matters of foundational as well as mathematical interest that are covered in detail include symmetry (and its "spontaneous" breaking), the measurement problem, the Kochen-Specker, Free Will, and Bell Theorems, the Kadison-Singer conjecture, quantization, indistinguishable particles, the quantum theory of large systems, and quantum logic, the latter in connection with the topos approach to quantum theory.This book is Open Access under a CC BY licence. 

The Routledge Handbook of Museums, Media and Communication (Routledge International Handbooks)

Museums today find themselves within a mediatised society, where everyday life is conducted in a data-full and technology-rich context. In fact, museums are themselves mediatised: they present a uniquely media-centred environment, in which communicative media is a constitutive property of their organisation and of the visitor experience. The Routledge Handbook of Museums, Media and Communication explores what it means to take mediated communication as a key concept for museum studies and as a sensitising lens for media-related museum practice on the ground.Including contributions from experts around the world, this original and innovative Handbook shares a nuanced and precise understanding of media, media concepts and media terminology, rehearsing new locations for writing on museum media and giving voice to new subject alignments. As a whole, the volume breaks new ground by reframing mediated museum communication as a resource for an inclusive understanding of current museum developments.The Routledge Handbook of Museums, Media and Communication will appeal to both students and scholars, as well as to practitioners involved in the visioning, design and delivery of mediated communication in the museum. It teaches us not just how to study museums, but how to go about being a museum in today’s world.

Civilian Lunatic Asylums During the First World War: A Study of Austerity on London's Fringe (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This open access book explores the history of asylums and their civilian patients during the First World War, focusing on the effects of wartime austerity and deprivation on the provision of care. While a substantial body of literature on ‘shell shock’ exists, this study uncovers the mental wellbeing of civilians during the war. It provides the first comprehensive account of wartime asylums in London, challenging the commonly held view that changes in psychiatric care for civilians post-war were linked mainly to soldiers’ experiences and treatment. Drawing extensively on archival and published sources, this book examines the impact of medical, scientific, political, cultural and social change on civilian asylums. It compares four asylums in London, each distinct in terms of their priorities and the diversity of their patients. Revealing the histories of the 100,000 civilian patients who were institutionalised during the First World War, this book offers new insights into decision-making and prioritisation of healthcare in times of austerity, and the myriad factors which inform this.

The Biopsychosocial Model of Health and Disease: New Philosophical and Scientific Developments

This open access book is a systematic update of the philosophical and scientific foundations of the biopsychosocial model of health, disease and healthcare. First proposed by George Engel 40 years ago, the Biopsychosocial Model is much cited in healthcare settings worldwide, but has been increasingly criticised for being vague, lacking in content, and in need of reworking in the light of recent developments. The book confronts the rapid changes to psychological science, neuroscience, healthcare, and philosophy that have occurred since the model was first proposed and addresses key issues such as the model’s scientific basis, clinical utility, and philosophical coherence. The authors conceptualise biology and the psychosocial as in the same ontological space, interlinked by systems of communication-based regulatory control which constitute a new kind of causation. These are distinguished from physical and chemical laws, most clearly because they can break down, thus providing the basis for difference between health and disease. This work offers an urgent update to the model’s scientific and philosophical foundations, providing a new and coherent account of causal interactions between the biological, the psychological and social.

A History of Self-Harm in Britain: A Genealogy of Cutting and Overdosing (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This book is open access under a CC BY license and charts the rise and fall of various self-harming behaviours in twentieth-century Britain. It puts self-cutting and overdosing into historical perspective, linking them to the huge changes that occur in mental and physical healthcare, social work and wider politics.

The Cost of Insanity in Nineteenth-Century Ireland: Public, Voluntary and Private Asylum Care (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This open access book is the first comparative study of public, voluntary and private asylums in nineteenth-century Ireland. Examining nine institutions, it explores whether concepts of social class and status and the emergence of a strong middle class informed interactions between gender, religion, identity and insanity. It questions whether medical and lay explanations of mental illness and its causes, and patient experiences, were influenced by these concepts. The strong emphasis on land and its interconnectedness with notions of class identity and respectability in Ireland lends a particularly interesting dimension. The book interrogates the popular notion that relatives were routinely locked away to be deprived of land or inheritance, querying how often “land grabbing” Irish families really abused the asylum system for their personal economic gain. The book will be of interest to scholars of nineteenth-century Ireland and the history of psychiatry and medicine in Britain and Ireland.

Physical (A)Causality: Determinism, Randomness and Uncaused Events (Fundamental Theories of Physics Book 192)

This open access book addresses the physical phenomenon of events that seem to occur spontaneously and without any known cause. These are to be contrasted with events that happen in a (pre-)determined, predictable, lawful, and causal way. All our knowledge is based on self-reflexive theorizing, as well as on operational means of empirical perception. Some of the questions that arise are the following: are these limitations reflected by our models? Under what circumstances does chance kick in? Is chance in physics merely epistemic? In other words, do we simply not know enough, or use too crude levels of description for our predictions? Or are certain events "truly", that is, irreducibly, random? The book tries to answer some of these questions by introducing intrinsic, embedded observers and provable unknowns; that is, observables and procedures which are certified (relative to the assumptions) to be unknowable or undoable. A (somewhat iconoclastic) review of quantum mechanics is presented which is inspired by quantum logic. Postulated quantum (un-)knowables are reviewed. More exotic unknowns originate in the assumption of classical continua, and in finite automata and generalized urn models, which mimic complementarity and yet maintain value definiteness. Traditional conceptions of free will, miracles and dualistic interfaces are based on gaps in an otherwise deterministic universe. 

From Melancholia to Depression: Disordered Mood in Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This open access book maps a crucial but neglected chapter in the history of psychiatry: how was melancholia transformed in the nineteenth century from traditional melancholy madness into a modern biomedical mood disorder, paving the way for the emergence of clinical depression as a psychiatric illness in the twentieth century? At a time when the prevalence of mood disorders and antidepressant consumption are at an all-time high, the need for a comprehensive historical understanding of how modern depressive illness came into being has never been more urgent. This book addresses a significant gap in existing scholarly literature on melancholia, depression, and mood disorders by offering a contextualised and critical perspective on the history of melancholia in the first decades of psychiatry, from the 1830s until the turn of the twentieth century.