William Cullen #choosepsychiatry


William Cullen (1710-1790)

William Cullen was a Scottish physician who played a significant role in the Scottish Enlightenment. Cullen was a polymath who was the first to demonstrate the principles of refrigeration using his expertise in chemistry. He practised surgery and medicine and amongst his students was Benjamin Rush, one of the founders of the United States.

Cullen wrote a landmark textbook on medicine ‘First Lines of the Practice of Physic‘ based on his Edinburgh lectures. He organised the medical knowledge of his time, creating a classification of diseases. Cullen’s conceptualised a model of disease in which the nervous system played a central role and in which treatments would stimulate or relax the nervous system. He referred to the ‘neuroses’ and it was his work that was to later influence Pinel in France although there has been caution about oversimplifying Cullen’s works.


  1. Cullen focused on nosology
  2. Cullen focused on education
  3. Cullen summarised his body of knowledge in an influential textbook
  4. Cullen was a central figure in the Scottish enlightenment which in turn had been influenced by John Locke’s conceptualisation of empiricism

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here

Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link.

TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link.

Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk.

Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Conflicts of Interest: *For potential conflicts of interest please see the About section

One comment

  1. This helps me understand that psychiatrists aren’t simply folks who’ve gone to school for twenty years in order to prescribe the same ten drugs to everyone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s