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known, too, that several of the most eminent divines of the Scotish church make no secret of their attachment to the science. Besides, the writings of the phrenologists will bear a comparison in point of skill, extent of information, correctness of logic, and profundity of thought, with those of the most eminent of their opponents.
Phil. There may be some truth in these observations, but what I principally alluded to is the fact, that all the disciples of phrenology are persons ignorant of anatomy and physiology. You delude lawyers, divines, and merchants, who know nothing about the brain ; but all medical men, and especially teachers of anatomy, are so well aware of the fallacy of your doctrines, that you make no impression on them. They laugh at your discoveries as dreams.
Phren. This objection, like many others, is remarkable more for boldness than truth. In our last conversation I demonstrated the unavoidable ignorance of medical gentlemen of the old school regarding the functions of the brain, and you may easily satisfy yourself by a little inquiry that this representation was correct. For my own part, before adopting phrenology, I saw Dr Monro, Dr Barclay, and other anatomical professors, dissect the brain repeatedly, and heard them declare its functions to be an enigma, and acknowledge that their whole information concerning it consisted of “ names without meaning." This circumstance, therefore, puts the whole faculty, who have not studied phrenologically, completely out of the field as authorities. The fact, however, is the very reverse of what you state. Drs Gall and Spurzheim are now pretty generally admitted to be admirable anatomists of the brain, even by those who disavow their physiology ; and in the list of the Phrenological Society, out of 86 members you will find 13 doctors in medicine, and 11 surgeons, a proportion considerably larger than that of the medical profession to society in general.
Phil. This is a vain discussion, and I do not desire to prosecute it farther. Seriously speaking, I would study
your system did I not see insuperable difficulties and objections.
Phren. Will you be pleased to state them; for I always learn something from conversation with a candid and intelligent opponent.
Phil. Your whole system of separate faculties appears to me unsound. The mind, so far as consciousness is concerned, is single, and the phrenological faculties are distinguished from one another only by the kinds of external objects with which they are conversant; your faculty of locality, for example, is only the mind attending to relative position; and your faculty of colouring is the mind attending to the rays of light. Now, you might as well say that there is one ear for sharp sounds and another for flat. The question between you and the metaphysicians is one of nomenclature merely
Phren. You imagine, then, that Drs Gall and Spurzheim merely surveyed the different objects on which the mind is employed, and conceived the idea of forming them into classes; and by a kind of metaphysical fiction, adopted, for the sake of laying the basis of a theory, called the acts of the mind, when employed on these different classes, FACULTIES, and gave each faculty the name of the external objects on which it is supposed to be employed ?
Phil. Certainly I do understand the matter so.—Have you any different view of it?
Phren. The basis of the theory would be gratuitous, and the whole system merely an emanation of human thought, if these views were correct. They are very wide of the truth. I shall explain what is meant in phrenology by a faculty; and the difference between the metaphysical and phrenological views of it. In popular language, FACULTY is nearly synonymous with Power or CAPACITY ; but not with Act or STATE. Nevertheless Dr Thomas Brown has lately shewn, that the faculties of the metaphysicians are merely names for different states of the mind, and not different powers. The mind perceiving is in one state accord
ing to him, the mind conceiving in another, and the mind judging or reasoning in a third. Accordingly, he says that the philosophy of mind consists in an analysis of all the states in which it is capable of existing, and of the causes of these states; and that the words Faculties and Powers designate only certain states in which the mind exists on particular occasions.
Phil. This is a correct and comprehensive statement of what every student understands to be the true principles of mental philosophy.
Phren. Favour me now with a few minutes' attention The mind, considered as a general power existing in different states, may be likened to a wind-instrument with only one form of apparatus for emitting sound,-a trumpet for example. If excited with one degree of force it emits one kind of note, which is the result of the metal being in a certain state. If excited with another degree of force, it emits another kind of note, and this is the consequence of the metal being in another state. The number of notes that may be produced will be as great as the variety of states into which the metal may be excited by every possible impulse of wind. Now, suppose the first note to be Perception, the second Conception, and so on, the analogy betwixt the instrument and the mind may be carried to an indefinite length, each state of the trumpet, and each note resulting from it, corresponding to a state of the mind, and to the mental act which proceeds from it.
Phil. You illustrate well, and seem to comprehend the metaphysical theory perfectly. I am impatient to hear how you will elucidate and support your own.
Phren. I would liken the mind to another musical instrument-a piano-forte, having various strings. The first string is excited, and a certain note is produced; the second is excited, and another note swells upon the ear. Each note, it is true, results from the instrument being in a particular state, but it cannot exist in the state which produced the first note without the first string ; nor in the state
which produced the second note without the second string; and so forth. The trumpet represents the mind as conceived by the metaphysicians; the piano-forte shadows it forth as apprehended by the phrenologists.
Phil. I conceive the distinction ; but your supposition is a mere gratuitous hypothesis—the other is supported by the evidence of consciousness. You cannot shew that the mind really acts by distinct faculties, as the piano-forte emits different sounds through the excitement of different strings.
Phren. I think it possible to do so. Suppose that you had never seen either a trumpet or piano-forte, nor heard them described that they were played in your presence behind a screen, and you were required, from the mere notes emitted by each, to form a theory of its mechanism, could you be sanguine in your hopes of success in the attempt ?
Phil. No! certainly I would not.- Imagine the performer on the piano-forte to sound every variety of note which the instrument was capable of producing, what a task would it be for an observer to attend to such fleeting entities as the notes, and analyse them—to arrange them into classes according to their resemblances or differences, and to give each class a name indicative of its distinctive qualities ! Even after he had been successful in such an analysis, on what principle could he determine whether the sounds proceeded from a simple instrument in different states like the trumpet, or from different parts of a compound machine like the piano? Or allow that even the latter point was determined, what would be the chances in his favour that the divisions of his classes would correspond to the number of the strings, and that each note would be allotted to the string which produced it? In the present state of the human mind such an analysis is impossible. · Phren. Here again we are agreed; but this is precisely what the metaphysicians have been attempting, and their success has been what you describe.
Phil. I do not comprehend you. Be pleased to explain.
Phren. The mind is conscious of existing in various states, but it has no consciousness of the instruments by means of which it enters into them; and yet, until the classification of its states shall correspond with the divisions of its organs, the philosophy of mind will be equally wide of nature, as the description of a piano-forte drawn up from an analysis of its notes would be different from one founded on an examination of the instrument itself.
Phil. You are still enigmatical. I am interested in your observations, and desire to understand
Phren. If you were permitted to approach the piano-forte, and to try experimentally what notes could be produced from it by striking its various strings, or to see the performer touching its various keys, would you understand the theory of the production of its notes better?
Phil. Undoubtedly; but how does this bear upon the point under discussion ?
Phren. A philosopher sitting in his closet, and reflecting on what passes in his own mind, is like a person studying the theory of a musical instrument by attending to its notes ; the latter hears only notes succeeding notes, and has no palpable circumstance to inform him whether they are produced by a simple or a compound instrument. The former is conscious only of feelings and thoughts, but can discover no theory of their production. The inquirer, on the other hand, who studies man in society, resembles the person
who approaches the instrument and examines narrowly its structure, and makes it sound while he observes it. By reflecting on the acts performed by the mind in perceiving relative position and colours, you say that you discover no circumstance to lead you to believe that the one is attributable to a faculty of locality, and the other to a faculty of colouring ; but if you attend to the experience of Mr James Milne, whose case is recited in the Phrenological Transactions, p. 222, you will find that he is unable to distinguish shades, while he has an acute perception of relative position; and it