The Paradoxical Position of Kurt Goldstein in the History of Aphasia 1964

  • Norman Geschwind
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 16)


A widely-accepted version of the history of the study of aphasia states that before the First World War this discipline was dominated by a group of workers who, with occasional exceptions, were unsophisticated psychologically and who attempted on the basis of inadequate clinical and pathological data to fit aphasia into a narrow anatomical scheme. According to this view a group of reformers appeared, Marie, von Monakow, Head, and Goldstein, who destroyed this inadequate classical scheme.

In this paper this view is criticized, and it is pointed out that none of the reformers made as great a break with the past as is generally thought. The work of Kurt Goldstein is particularly discussed and it is pointed out that it is readily apparent from Goldstein’s own works that he accepted a majority of the classical teachings, indeed even in details. It is also pointed out that many of Goldstein’s holistic theoretical views were in fact so extensively qualified as to make them compatible with almost any approach. There is some discussion as to the reasons for the widespread rejection of the classical views when even its apparently severest critics accepted so much of the classical techings.


Chapter Versus German Scholar Occasional Exception Rolandic Operculum Aphasic Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Geschwind
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolUSA

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