University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France
Bérard was first educated at the medical school in Montpellier.
University of Paris, Paris, France
Bérard received his Doctor of Medicine degree with a thesis, “Plan d’une médecine naturelle” (1811).
Bérard was first was educated at the medical school in Montpellier. Then he went to Paris and received his Doctor of Medicine degree with a thesis, “Plan d’une médecine naturelle” (1811), which aroused interest.
After receiving his Doctor of Medicine degree, Bérard soon became a very successful private teacher. He abandoned teaching to go to Paris, where he collaborated on the Dictionnaire des sciences médicales, contributing articles on cranioscopy, the elements, trance, and muscle strength. Returning to Montpellier in 1816, he tried unsuccessfully to found a journal and then returned to teaching. In 1823 Bérard was appointed a professor of public health at the Faculté de Médecine of his native city, and he took the chair in 1826.
Bérard held that consciousness or internal perception reveals to us the existence of an immaterial, thinking, feeling and willing subject, the self or soul. Alongside of this there is the vital force, the nutritive Tower, which uses the physical frame as its organ. The soul and the principle of life are in constant reciprocal action, and the first owes to the second, not the formation of its faculties, but the conditions under which they are evolved. He showed himself unable to understand the points of view of those whom he criticized, and yet his own theories, midway between vitalism and animism, are entirely destitute of originality.
Joseph Frédéric Bérard was known as person with a remarkably acute critical sense, and was appreciated for his lucidity, and his remarkable gift of exposition.