Science, Nature & Math History & Philosophy Books

Investigating the Body in the Victorian Asylum: Doctors, Patients, and Practices (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.This book explores how the body was investigated in the late nineteenth-century asylum in Britain. As more and more Victorian asylum doctors looked to the bodily fabric to reveal the ‘truth’ of mental disease, a whole host of techniques and technologies were brought to bear upon the patient's body. These practices encompassed the clinical and the pathological, from testing the patient's reflexes to dissecting the brain. Investigating the Body in the Victorian Asylum takes a unique approach to the topic, conducting a chapter-by-chapter dissection of the body. It considers how asylum doctors viewed and investigated the skin, muscles, bones, brain, and bodily fluids. The book demonstrates the importance of the body in nineteenth-century psychiatry as well as how the asylum functioned as a site of research, and will be of value to historians of psychiatry, the body, and scientific practice.

A History of Self-Harm in Britain: A Genealogy of Cutting and Overdosing (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This book is open access under a CC BY license and charts the rise and fall of various self-harming behaviours in twentieth-century Britain. It puts self-cutting and overdosing into historical perspective, linking them to the huge changes that occur in mental and physical healthcare, social work and wider politics.

The Biopsychosocial Model of Health and Disease: New Philosophical and Scientific Developments

This open access book is a systematic update of the philosophical and scientific foundations of the biopsychosocial model of health, disease and healthcare. First proposed by George Engel 40 years ago, the Biopsychosocial Model is much cited in healthcare settings worldwide, but has been increasingly criticised for being vague, lacking in content, and in need of reworking in the light of recent developments. The book confronts the rapid changes to psychological science, neuroscience, healthcare, and philosophy that have occurred since the model was first proposed and addresses key issues such as the model’s scientific basis, clinical utility, and philosophical coherence. The authors conceptualise biology and the psychosocial as in the same ontological space, interlinked by systems of communication-based regulatory control which constitute a new kind of causation. These are distinguished from physical and chemical laws, most clearly because they can break down, thus providing the basis for difference between health and disease. This work offers an urgent update to the model’s scientific and philosophical foundations, providing a new and coherent account of causal interactions between the biological, the psychological and social.

Foundations of Quantum Theory: From Classical Concepts to Operator Algebras (Fundamental Theories of Physics Book 188)

This book studies the foundations of quantum theory through its relationship to classical physics. This idea goes back to the Copenhagen Interpretation (in the original version due to Bohr and Heisenberg), which the author relates to the mathematical formalism of operator algebras originally created by von Neumann. The book therefore includes comprehensive appendices on functional analysis and C*-algebras, as well as a briefer one on logic, category theory, and topos theory. Matters of foundational as well as mathematical interest that are covered in detail include symmetry (and its "spontaneous" breaking), the measurement problem, the Kochen-Specker, Free Will, and Bell Theorems, the Kadison-Singer conjecture, quantization, indistinguishable particles, the quantum theory of large systems, and quantum logic, the latter in connection with the topos approach to quantum theory.This book is Open Access under a CC BY licence. 

Healthy Minds in the Twentieth Century: In and Beyond the Asylum (Mental Health in Historical Perspective)

This open access edited collection contributes a new dimension to the study of mental health and psychiatry in the twentieth century. It takes the present literature beyond the ‘asylum and after’ paradigm to explore the multitude of spaces that have been permeated by concerns about mental well-being and illness. The chapters in this volume consciously attempt to break down institutional walls and consider mental health through the lenses of institutions, policy, nomenclature, art, lived experience, and popular culture. The book adopts an international scope covering the historical experiences of Britain, Ireland, and North America. In accordance with this broad approach, contributions to the volume span academic fields such as history, arts, literary studies, sociology, and psychology, mirroring the diversity of the subject matter. This book is available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at

Capital Punishment and the Criminal Corpse in Scotland, 1740a??1834 (Palgrave Historical Studies in the Criminal Corpse and its Afterlife)

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.This book provides the most in-depth study of capital punishment in Scotland between the mid-eighteenth and early nineteenth century to date. Based upon an extensive gathering and analysis of previously untapped resources, it takes the reader on a journey from the courtrooms of Scotland to the theatre of the gallows. It introduces them to several of the malefactors who faced the hangman’s noose and explores the traditional hallmarks of the spectacle of the scaffold. It demonstrates that the period between 1740 and 1834 was one of discussion, debate and fundamental change in the use of the death sentence and how it was staged in practice. In addition, the study provides an innovative investigation of the post-mortem punishment of the criminal corpse. It offers the reader an insight into the scene at the foot of the gibbets from which criminal bodies were displayed and around the dissection tables of Scotland’s main universities where criminal bodies were used as cadavers for anatomical demonstration. In doing so it reveals an intermediate stage in the long-term disappearance of public bodily punishment.   

Physical (A)Causality: Determinism, Randomness and Uncaused Events (Fundamental Theories of Physics Book 192)

This open access book addresses the physical phenomenon of events that seem to occur spontaneously and without any known cause. These are to be contrasted with events that happen in a (pre-)determined, predictable, lawful, and causal way. All our knowledge is based on self-reflexive theorizing, as well as on operational means of empirical perception. Some of the questions that arise are the following: are these limitations reflected by our models? Under what circumstances does chance kick in? Is chance in physics merely epistemic? In other words, do we simply not know enough, or use too crude levels of description for our predictions? Or are certain events "truly", that is, irreducibly, random? The book tries to answer some of these questions by introducing intrinsic, embedded observers and provable unknowns; that is, observables and procedures which are certified (relative to the assumptions) to be unknowable or undoable. A (somewhat iconoclastic) review of quantum mechanics is presented which is inspired by quantum logic. Postulated quantum (un-)knowables are reviewed. More exotic unknowns originate in the assumption of classical continua, and in finite automata and generalized urn models, which mimic complementarity and yet maintain value definiteness. Traditional conceptions of free will, miracles and dualistic interfaces are based on gaps in an otherwise deterministic universe.