Georg Ivanovas From Autism to Humanism - systems theory in medicine

2.3 The psychosomatic confusion

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b) minor concepts

Mind as explanatory principle (chap. 3.3):

An explanatory principle is “a sort of conventional agreement between scientists to stop trying to explain things at a certain point” (Bateson 1972: 39). In medicine the word ‘psychological’ is often used in this way. That is, something is classified as psychological and erased from the usual scientific frame. In this use mind seemingly explains a fact, but it does not allow to analyse the given situation any further.


Confusing map and territory:

Sometimes mind is thought of an organ such as the liver or the gall-bladder. The expression “It came to my mind” is taken for real. It reminds the (not so rare) women who, operated at the bladder ('bladder plastic'), think they now have a plastic bladder.


Concepts of life:

Quite often mind is seen as the basic expression of life. All sorts of characteristics attributed to living processes have been defined as ‘mind’, such as organisation, structure etc. (Glassop 2003) or even all evolutionary processes (Bateson, 1988: 16-20). This approach is coherent, reliable in its inner logic and connects observations with processes. But it is not used in the medical context. Therefore its implications will not be discussed.


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