The Rise And Legitimization Of Phrenology Essay

1031 Words Dec 20th, 2015 null Page
Many young medical professionals were attracted to the possibility to study the mind beyond only introspection, but despite the popularity phrenology received, there were always critics refuting its scientific merit. The rise and legitimization of phrenology coincided with the previously described Victorian attempt to standardize requirements for an acceptable scientific theory, but its fall around the 1840’s was not a surprise. Even among phronological circles there was a lot of disagreement; the number of faculties ranged from 27 to 40 depending on the theorist.36 After arriving in Britain to lecture, Spurzheim was only brought to the international stage when Dr. John Gordon publicly ridiculed phrenology for being illogical, stating that it based its practice on presumptuous claims; he began his 1814 Edinburgh Review article with a harsh assessment:
... So impudent a contempt for the opinions and labours of others, are so utterly destitute of every qualification necessary for the conduct of a philosophical investigation.... for there is nothing sufficiently certain in nature, which these gentlemen will not call in question, if it be hostile to their views.... The writings of Drs Gall and Spurzheim, have not added one fact to the stock of our knowledge.... [phrenology is] a piece of thorough quackery from beginning to end.37
Combe, too, was not left unscathed. In 1825, Francis Jeffrey 's review of Combe 's System of phrenology dealt a heavy blow to phrenologists.…

Related Documents