The formation of scientific psychiatry at the end of the eighteenth century and its progress in the nineteenth century were determined, in the main, by the enormous influence of materialist philosophy and developing natural science.In France, as a direct effect of the ideas of the French
materialist Enlighteners, psychiatry was developed on a materialist basis by such prominent physicians of that time as Philippe Pinel and Jean-Etienne Esquirol.
Wilhelm Griesinger, the founder of German scientific psychiatry, averred that mental diseases were diseases of the brain and held that mental activity was reflex activity.Interpreting mental activity, in both its normal and pathological manifestations, from the materialist point of view, Henry Maudsley, a well-known British psychiatrist,elaborated, in application to psychiatry, Charles Darwin’s ideas of the evolution of the organic world.Last, but not least, it should be observed that Benjamin Rush, the founder of American psychiatry,progressive scientist and one of the signers of the Declaration of Inde-
pendence, was even persecuted for his materialist views in.the field of psychiatry.Developing along these materialist lines, scientific psychiatry at the end of the nineteenth century joined
general medicine in interpreting and classifying mental disorders. Thanks to the studies of the outstanding German
psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin and the eminent Russian psychiatrist Sergei Korsakov, psychiatry was able, like general medicine, to adopt the clinico-nosological principle of dividing the mental disorders into separate clinico-nosological unities. On a broad biological basis and by various general clinical, as well as clinico-laboratory, methods
(biochemical, pathoanatomical, etc.) of studying mental patients, different mental diseases, well known to mod-
ern psychiatrists, were identified and comprehensively.described. Side by side with the materialist tendencies in
psychiatry there were also idealist trends. Of the latter, the theory of psychoanalysis developed by the Viennese physician Sigmund Freud acquired particular importance, especially since this conception had been exported at the turn
of this century to the United States of America.In our days the Freudian idealist interpretation of the causes and mechanisms of mental disorders has been modernised in the form of various trends of psychodynamic, “depth” psychology. This “depth” psychology finds
different manifestations in different countries.