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Plasticity and PathologyOn the Formation of the Neural Subject$
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David Bates and Nima Bassiri

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823266135

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823266135.001.0001

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Epileptic Insanity and Personal Identity

Epileptic Insanity and Personal Identity

John Hughlings Jackson and the Formations of the Neuropathic Self

(p.65) 4 Epileptic Insanity and Personal Identity
Plasticity and Pathology

Nima Bassiri

Fordham University Press

This chapter first discusses the 1894 article published by seminal neurologist John Hughlings Jackson entitled “The Factors of Insanities” in the Medical Press and Circular. The article was the culmination of his most mature theories of the physiology and pathology of the brain and nervous system, further expounding the conceptual innovation for which he was most famous, namely his “evolutionary” understanding of the nervous system—a conception that the entire nervous system functionally represented the entire body, in an ever increasing hierarchy of complexity and specialization. The chapter then proposes that neurological discourse—Hughlings Jackson’s in particular—only formalized and stabilized a problem related to the category of selfhood and the status of personal identity that was emerging as a consequence of broader discussions throughout behavioral medicine. Hughlings Jackson’s proposition of pathologically becoming a new person functioned as a reflection of and rejoinder to a set of epistemological and forensic anxieties related to personhood itself.

Keywords:   John Hughlings Jackson, neurologists, human brain, nervous system, selfhood, personhood, personal identity

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