Foreword by Oliver Sacks Kurt Goldstein (1878-1965) was already an established neuropsychologist when he emigrated from Germany to the United States in the 1930s. This book, his magnum opus and widely regarded as a modern classic in psychology and biology, grew out of his dissatisfaction with traditional natural science techniques for analyzing living beings. It offers a broad introduction to the sources and ranges of application of the "holistic" or "organismic" research program that has since become a standard part of biological thought. Goldstein was especially concerned with the breakdown of organization and the failure of central controls that take place in catastrophic responses to situations such as physical or mental illness. But he was equally attuned to the amazing powers of the organism to readjust to such catastrophic losses, if only by withdrawal to a more limited range that it could manage by a redistribution of its reduced energies, thus reclaiming as much wholeness as new circumstances allowed. Goldstein's theses in The Organism have had an important impact on philosophical and psychological thought throughout the twentieth century, as evidenced in the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Georges Canguilhem, Ernst Cassirer, and Ludwig Binswanger.
Oliver Sacks, a neurologist, is the author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings, Musicophilia, and other books.
Method of determining symptoms, certain general laws of organismic life, observations on persons with brain injuries; the organism viewed in the light of results obtained through atomistic method, the theory of reflex structure of the organism; theoretical reflections on the function of the nervous system as foundation for a theory of the organism; modification of function due to impairment of the organism; the nature of partitive processes; on the conception of the organism as a whole; certain essential characteristics of the organism in the light of the holistic approach; on Gestalt psychology and the theory of the physical Gestalten; the nature of biological knowledge, on norm, health and disease, on anomaly, heredity and breeding; on life and mind, the problem of organismic hierarchy; knowledge and action.