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Wurzbg Medizinhist Mitt. 2005;24:378-90.

[Human machines--mechanical humans? The industrial arrangement of the relation between human being and machine on the basis of psychotechnik and Georg Schlesingers work with disabled soldiers].

[Article in German]

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Universit├Ąt Konstanz, Fachbereich Geschichte und Soziologie, Fach D10, 78457 Konstanz.


The 20th Century is the century of of technical artefacts. With their existance and use they create an artificial reality, within which humans have to position themselves. Psychotechnik is an attempt to enable humans for this positioning. It gained importance in Germany after World War I and had its heyday between 1919 and 1926. On the basis of the activity of the engineer and supporter of Psychotechnik Georg Schlesinger, whose particular interest were disabled soldiers, the essay on hand will investigate the understanding of the body and the human being of Psychotechnik as an applied science. It turned out, that the biggest achievement of Psychotechnik was to establish a new view of the relation between human being and machine. Thus it helped to show that the human-machine-interface is a shapable unit. Psychotechnik sees the human body and its physique as the last instance for the design of machines. Its main concern is to optimize the relation between human being and machine rather than to standardize human beings according to the construction of machines. After her splendid rise during the Weimar Republic and her rapid decline since the late 1920s Psychotechnik nowadays gains scientifical attention as a historical phenomenon. The main attention in the current discourse lies on the aspects conserning philosophy of science: the unity of body and soul, the understanding of the human-machine-interface as a shapable unit and the human being as a last instance of this unit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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