THE HUMAN ORGANIC
The Philosophy of Structure and Function as seen in the light of the New Church
and illustrated by Swedenborg's philosophy
Lecture Notes by Hugo Lj. Odhner,, Phil 10, A.N.C
Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, 1940, Revised 1964
This version of The Human Organic Notes by Hugo Lj. Odhner is scanned primarily from the 1964 revision. However, various other copies were available from other versions that have been incorporated because of useful content or better images. There are various systems of page numbering as a result. Many of Dr. Odhner's marginal notes and attachment are available in his own copy, which has been scanned in graphics images on compact disk and can be viewed in the ANC Swedenborg Library by students who wish to pursue the subject in more depth. Scanning of this on-line version was initiated by Mr. Jim Weaber for Mr. Charles Cole, and continued by me. Oliver R.Odhner.
The following NOTES are presented as reference material
for study in connection with lectures on Swedenborg's concepts of the Human
The citations and summaries which are taken from
Swedenborg's physiological and psychological works are selected in the
endeavor to analyze and interpret the concepts there presented. But the
student should take notice of the fact that Swedenborg's position in various
stages of his study was subject to later modification and was not crystallized
with finality, and that details were sometimes inconclusive and tentative.
This is noticeable in the comparative views as to the immortal function
of the "pure intellectories" taken in the Economy of the Animal Kingdom
and in the Rational Psychology; and also in the expansion
of the idea of the "soul" or "spirit" in the Writings. Students should
therefore be ready to recognize that the term "soul" (to take one important
instance) has been used by Swedenborg in several senses. See appendix to
these notes concerning various uses of the term "soul" in Swedenborg's
Swedenborg's physiological data and theories are
presented in these NOTES without prejudice to the findings of modern neurologists,
but with the conviction that his philosophy cannot be grasped apart
from an understanding of his physiological premises.
References to the RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY are the numbering of the Sewall English version, not to that of the Rogers-Acton version.
Hugo Lj. OdhnerTEACHING NOTES
Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania
The Tissues, Organs, And Viscera, and their spiritual correspondences. The correspondences of the alimentary canal, in detail. The Thoracic viscera and the blood. The endocrine system, and the vital functions of the Pituitary Gland.
The Brain and the Nervous System, described in general.
The Connection between Mind and Body. The operation of the soul
in the Body. The universality of purpose or use (teleology).
The Origin and Nature of the "Spirituous Fluid." Swedenborg's Search for the Soul. The organization of the cortical substance. The cortical "glands", the "simplest fibres", and the circulation of the vital fluids.
The Brain as the Basis of the Mind. The brain as Common Sensory. Physical basis of Memory And Imagination. The Pure Intellectories as the seat of Intuition. The Rational Mind and thought Relations of the Pure Intellectory to the animus and to paternal heredity. Perversions of the Spirituous Fluid, and its relation to the immortal mind.
The Immortal Mind As Organic. The spiritual embodiment of the mind. Identity of mind and spirit. The spirit is in the human form. The inmost 'soul' as the first receptacle of life from God.
Relation of Soul and Body. The philosophical question of dualism. Theories of "influx". Swedenborg's solution of the problem of the intercourse of soul and body: the Conatus Theory. The historic theories of the relation of mind and body examined. A summary statement of the New Church doctrine concerning the formation of man's immortal mind (or spirit) and its influx into the body.
Requirements. Phil. 1 (Introduction to Philosophy) is a prerequisite as well as a senior High School course in the Human Body or an equivalent anatomy course. Usually about six papers are required, and a written examination is given at the end of each semester.
In 1961-62 The topics of the papers were:
The course would be more effective if more time were allowed than the present two periods a week, and/or if the instructor could demand more extensive assignments on the part of the students. The course is frankly intended for those who wish to have a better understanding of the Writings of the New Church and the light they shed on the nature of man. It is therefore especially useful to future teachers, doctors, and ministers. Although of value as a part of a liberal education, it is expected that few colleges would accept it for credit, because of its primary stress on Swedenborg's philosophy.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
Chapter I. WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?
Chapter II. WHAT PHILOSOPHY HAS ACCOMPLISHED: A survey of the History of Philosophy
Chapter V. DEGREES: ELEMENTAL AND ORGANIC
THE HUMAN BODY IN GENERAL
Chapter I. THE ORIGIN OF THE HUMAN FORM
Chapter II. THE SOUL AS A FORMATIVE SUBSTANCE
A. The Soul as a Spiritual Substance
Chapter III. THE PATERNAL SEED
Chapter IV. HEREDITY
Chapter VI. BIRTH
Chapter VII. GENERAL TEACHINGS ABOUT THE BODY OF MAN
Chapter VIII. THE BODY AS A WHOLE: The Study of Man
Chapter IX. CORRESPONDENCE
OF THE BODY TO THE LARGER FORM OF SOCIETY AND TO THE GRAND MAN OF HEAVEN
Chapter X. General Divisions of the Body and the Grand Man
THE TISSUES, ORGANS, AND VISCERA
Chapter II. THE ABDOMINAL
Chapter IV. THE BRAIN
AND THE NERVES
THE CONNECTIONS OF BODY AND MIND
Chapter I. THE OPERATION
OF THE SOUL IN THE BODY
Chapter III. THE CONSTITUTION
OF THE CORTICAL GLAND
Chapter IV. THE BRAIN
AS THE BASIS OF THE MIND
Chapter VI. THE RELATION
OF SOUL AND BODY
Click here for Bibliography