Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne: 6 offprints from library of Ernst Mach

Publisher Information: 1872-1903.

Inscribed to Ernst Mach

Hering, Ewald (1834-1918). Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne. Erste [- sechste] Mittheilung. Offprints from Sitzb. k. Akad. Wiss. 66 (1872); 68 (1873); 69 (1874); 70 (1875). 8vo. 247 x 160 mm. Original wrappers or without wrappers as issued; see list below for details. Part 1 inscribed by Hering to Ernst Mach (1838-1916): "Herrn Prof. Mach Hochachtungsvoll d. V." .

Very rare complete set of First / First Separate Editions. Garrison-Morton 1515 ("Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne"). Hering, one of the foremost German physiologists of the 19th century, succeeded Purkyne at the German University of Prague, where he spent 25 years studying sensory physiology (particularly of vision) and electrical phenomena in nerve and muscle. During this time he came up with his radical physiological theories of brightness perception and color vision, set forth in the six-part "Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne," which found favor with almost none of his contemporaries other than Ernst Mach (1838-1916), to whom Hering presented the offprints we are offering here. Departing from the Helmholtz-Young theory of color vision, which postulated three colors and three visual substances, Hering proposed a three-substance, six-color theory in which a visual substance could produce one of two paired colors in response to either dissimulation (catabolism) or assimilation (anabolism).

"It took seventy-five years before electrophysiologists demonstrated the existence at the cellular level of Hering's mechanisms: center-surround organization of retinal ganglion cells; and opponent, i.e. excitatory and inhibitory, coding of color" (Oxford Companion to the Mind, p. 311).

"Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne" was later published in book form (Vienna, 1878); excerpts from the work are included in Herrnstein and Boring's Source Book in the History of Psychology (1965).

"[Hering's] notion that physiological excitation in one area could bring about an increase or decrease in excitation in an adjacent area was simply too far ahead of the data at hand and the prevailing atmosphere of thought. So, for that matter, was Hering's view that the directly perceived visual effects on which he based his inferences provided the most sensitive and informative indicator of the general nature of the underlying physiological events. Ernst Mach was among the very few of Hering's contemporaries who shared his general point of view.

"It has taken many years of painstaking work by visual electrophysiologists and the development of new techniques and apparatus to catch up with the insights that Hering gained from his study of the behavior of the intact visual system" (Hurvich & Jameson, "Introduction," in Hering, Outlines of a Theory of the Light Sense [1964], pp. vii-xxvii; quotation taken from p. ix).

These offprints are from the library of Ernst Mach, the physicist and philosopher of science whose writings supplied a basis for Einstein's theory of relativity. He also made important contributions to psychophysiology, developing sensation-based theories of perception and cognition predicated on his belief that knowledge comes solely from physical, psychological and physiological experience. As noted above, Mach was one of the few scientists to share Hering's ideas on the phenomena of sensation. DSB.

1. Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne. Erste Mittheilung. Uber successive Lichtinduction. Offprint from Sitzb. k. Akad. Wiss. 66 (1872). 20pp. Without wrappers as issued. Inscribed by Hering to Mach: "Herrn Prof. Mach Hochachtungsvoll d. V."

Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne. Zweite Mittheilung. Über simultanen Lichtcontrast. Offprint from Sitzb. k. Akad. Wiss. 68 (1873). 16pp. Without wrappers as issued.

3. Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne. Dritten Mittheilung. Über simultane Lichtinduction und über succesiven Contrast. Offprint from Sitzb. k. Akad. Wiss. 68 (1873). 16pp. Without wrappers as issued.

4. Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne. Vierte Mittheilung. Über die sogennante Intensität der Lichtempfindung und uber die Empfindung des Schwarzen. Offprint from Sitzb. k. Akad. Wiss. 69 (1874). 20pp. Without wrappers as issued.

5. Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne. Fünfte Mittheilung. Grundzüge einer Theorie des Lichtsinnes. Offprint from Sitzb. k. Akad. Wiss. 69 (1874). 39pp. Orig. printed wrappers.

6. Zur Lehre vom Lichtsinne. Sechste Mittheilung. Grundzüge einer Theorie des Farbensinnes. Offprint from Sitzb. k. Akad. Wiss. 69 (1874). 36pp. Orig. printed wrappers.

Book Id: 38728

Price: $6,000.00

See all items by