Dr Spurzheim's Phrenology

The first claim put forth by the teachers and professional demonstrators

of phrenology makes it a system of mental philosophy, besides at the

same time presenting a much more popular aspect as a method whereby the

disposition, character and natural aptitude of the individual may be


These two features of the subject are quite distinct from each other,

for, while it can serve as a reliable guide for reading character only

on the assumption of its truth as a philosophic system, yet the

possibility of its practical application does not necessarily follow

from the establishment of the truth of its theoretical side.

Two of the earliest founders of the science of anatomy, Erasistratus and

Herophilus, who lived in the age of Ptolemy Soter, taught that the brain

was the seat of sensation and intellect, and that there was therein a

certain degree of localization of function. Galen later taught that the

brain is the seat of the soul and intellect. From these facts of history

the system of phrenology, though formulated by Dr. Gall, Dr. Spurzheim,

the Fowler Brothers and others, rests upon deductions derived from the

teachings of the demonstrators of anatomy and students of philosophy.

The formulated system of phrenology is very generally believed to be a

modern expansion of an old empirical philosophy, but, according to Dr.

Gall's account, it arose with him as the result of independent

observations. The popularity of phrenology has waned in the public mind,

and cultivation of the system is confined to a few enthusiasts, such as

pose as teachers of it as a vocation. These claim that phrenology is a

practical and important science and that it rests upon the following


First--That the human brain is the organ of the mind.

Second--That the mental powers of man can be analyzed into a definite

number of measurably independent faculties.

Third--That these faculties are innate, and each has its seat in a

definite region of the brain.

Fourth--That the size of each of these regions is the measure of the

power of manifesting the faculty associated with it.

The faculties and their localities, as originally constructed by Dr.

Gall, were for the most part identified on slender grounds. His

procedure was as follows: Having selected the place of a faculty, he

examined the heads of his friends and casts of persons with that

peculiarity in common, and in them sought for the distinctive feature of

their characteristic trait. Some of his earlier studies were among low

associates in jails and lunatic asylums, and some of the qualities

located by him were such as tend to perversion to crime. These he named

after their excessive manifestations, and thus mapped out organs of

theft, murder, etc. This, however, caused the system to be discredited.

Later his pupil, Dr. Spurzheim, claimed that the moral and religious

features belonging to it greatly modified these characteristics of Dr.

Gall's work. The chart of the human head as invented by Dr. Gall

represented 26 organs; the chart as improved by Dr. Spurzheim makes out

35 organs. This is the chart now generally used and which is shown on a

preceding page. The number specifies the location of each organ, which

is followed by its phrenological name, and classified as follows:

Propensities. (1) Amativeness. (2) Philoprogenitiveness. (3)

Concentrativeness. (4) Adhesiveness. (5) Combativeness. (6)

Destructiveness. (6a) Alimentiveness. (7) Secretiveness. (8)

Acquisitiveness. (9) Constructiveness.

Lower Sentiments. (10) Self-esteem. (11) Love of Approbation. (12)


Superior Sentiments. (13) Benevolence. (14) Veneration. (15)

Conscientiousness. (16) Firmness. (17) Hope. (18) Wonder. (19) Ideality.

(20) Wit. (21) Imitation.

Perceptive Faculties. (22) Individuality. (23) Form. (24) Size. (25)

Weight. (26) Color. (27) Locality. (28) Number. (29) Order. (30)

Eventuality. (31) Time. (32) Tune. (33) Language.

Reflective Faculties. (34) Comparison. (35) Causality. The judgment of

the phrenologist is determined by the size of the brain in general, and

by the size of the organs that have been formulated, and these are

estimated by certain arbitrary rules that render the boundaries of the

regions indefinite.

The controversy over phrenology has served undoubtedly the very useful

purpose of stimulating research into the anatomy of the brain.

It is generally conceded that any psychological theory which correlates

brain-action and mental phenomena requires a correspondence between the

size of the brain and mental power, and generally observation shows that

the brains of those whose capacities are above the average are larger

than those of the general run of their fellow men.

A study of the cuts and comparison of the sizes of different heads and

their shape will prove very entertaining with most any group of persons

intellectually inclined, and it will be found that persons who are

naturally good readers by instinct of human nature can, with its help,

make remarkable readings in the delineation of character.

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