Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

action. Hence, on two organs of little size and constitutional activity being subjected to equally powerful exciting causes, the one, owing to difference of previous training, might greatly exceed the other iu ease, energy and precision of its action. As a guide to these differences of training, the phrenologist inquires into the education of the individual examined. From the natural character, as far as he can ascertain from organization, education and external influences being given, he can solve the problem of actual character with closely approximating accuracy. The non-phrenologist cannot commence the solution. Nay further; the phrenologist can tell the remarkable traits of actual character, when such exists, with considerable precision, from the organization alone; for, if an organ

be
very

deficient in size, no amount of the most judicious training can make it display great energy, and, when he observes such an organ, he can say with perfect confidence, that in all actions for which strength of its function is required, the individual in whose organization it exists, will manifest feebleness or imbecility. If an organ, on the contrary, greatly predominates in size, it hungers as it were for stimulus and responds to it, when presented, with such vigorous and, in general, pleasurable energy, that its tendency is to overpower the appeals of the other organs, or to reduce them to subservient activity, and though judicious training may greatly modify this tendency, it will exert a powerful influence over the character, and this the phrenologist can state without the slightest fear of mistake. Starting from these extremes, he proceeds with less and less certainty, in judging from organization alone till he comes to men in whom the organs are equally poised. Here he finds the individuals, who, placed amid elevating and refining influences, the propensities having lawful means of gratification, may sustain a fair reputation ; but who, placed amid obnoxious moral influences, may become guilty of every crime. There are men who would be almost utterly corrupt in heaven; there are others who would in hell retain their allegiance to their high moral destiny, and, despite temptation and mockery, remain, like Abdiel amid the rebel angels,

- Unmoved, Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified." But those of whom we now speak, are far removed from both these classes. They often surprise not only others but themselves, by the rapidity and frequency of their changes from evil to good, and from good to evil. The actual character undergoes marked revolutions; the natural character remains the same; its distinctive trait being its liability to be strongly modified by external circumstances and education; and this characteristic the phrenologist can state from the organization alone. He

cannot tell, indeed, whether the individual with such an organization be ranked among the virtuous or the vicious; but he can tell that no amount of moral training will render him equally excellent and amiable as it would if the region of the moral sentiments had been one third greater, or that of the propensities one third less. The principles here applied to the moral qualities, are equally applicable to the intellect separately considered.

Such and no greater are the power and knowledge claimed by the phrenologist. How different are these claims from the wholesale, indiscriminate and unlimited pretensions which Professor Smith makes him arrogate. We have treated this subject somewhat at length, here and elsewhere, because we fear that the error of the professor is shared by many men of literary and scientific reputation and influence; who, strange to say, continue to pick up their notions of our science from any source rather than the standard writings on the subject.

(To be continued.)

ARTICLE II.

a

A SYSTEM OF LOGIC BASED ON PHRENOLOGY. In the year 1836, Mr. Geo. Combe offered himself as a candidate for the Chair of Logic in the University of Edinburgh; and, in order to show the intimate connection of the true science of mind with a system of Logic, he addressed a letter to those gentlemen upon whom devolved the duty of making this appointment. After an introductory paragraph, Mr. C. proceeds to remark as follows:

It has been remarked, that, if a Chair of Phrenology were to be disposed of, my certificates might be deserving of attention, but that they have no relation to Logic.

I beg leave very respectfully to solicit the attention of those who entertain this opinion, to the following words of Mr. Dugald Stewart: “ I have always," says he, “ been convinced that it was a fundamental error of Aristotle (in which he has been followed by almost every logical . writer since his time) to confine his views entirely to reasoning or the discursive faculty, instead of aiming at the improvement of our nature in all its various parts. If this remark be well founded, it obviously fol. lows that, in order to prepare the way for a just and comprehensive system of logic, a previous survey of our nature, consilered as one comprehensive whole, is indispensably necessary.

The late Mr. George Jardine, Professor of Logic in the University

a

of Glasgow, in his “Outlines of Philosophical Education, illustrated by the niethod of teaching the Logic Class” in that University, says: “To the elements of the science of the human mind, therefore, I have recourse on the present occasion, as the mother science, so to call it, from which all others derive at once their origin and nourishment. Thus logic, metaphysics, ethics, jurisprudence, law and eloquence, have their common origin in mind; and consequently an intimate acquaintance with the phenomena of mind must formi a suitable introduction to the study of every branch of knowledge."

The Royal Commissioners appointed to visit the Universities of Scotland, in their General Report, observe, that “ Logic may be rendered more elementary and useful by being confined to a brief and general account of the objects of human knowledge, the faculties by which it is acquired, and the rules for the investigation of truth.”

Assuming, then, that the philosophy of mind is indispensable to the formation of a sound and useful system of Logic, I beg leave to observe, that Phrenology, whatever notions of it individuals who have never studied it may entertain, is the philosophy of the mind, based on observation of the mental organs.

The external senses may be adverted to in illustration of its nature and pretensions. In order to comprehend the philosophy of vision, it is necessary to study the following particulars:

1. The structure and functions of the eye and optic nerve, which are the organs of this sense.

2. The effects of the condition of these organs on the powers of vision. One constitution of the eye, for instance, gives distant, another close vision. When the eye is diseased, we may see green objects as yellow, or we may see double, or we may be altogether incapable of seeing, according to the nature of the malady.

3. The relations of external objects to these organs. This head includes the science of optics, with its various applications to painting (perspective,) astronomy, (making of telescopes,) &c. &c.

If the philosophy of vision were studied by merely naming, recording and classifying its phenomena, without knowledge of the structure, functions, diseases and relations of the eye, it would present precisely the same appearance which the philosophy of mind now exhibits in the pages of the metaphysicians.

In studying the works on mental philosophy by Dr. Reid, Mr. Dugald Stewart, nd Dr. Thomas Brown, who form the boast of Scotland in this department of knowledge, the following observation strike a reflect ing reader:

1

1. These authors differ widely in regard to the number and nature of the primitive mental faculties.

If the philosophy of the senses had been studied without a knowledge of their organs, we should probably have had, in like manner, disputes whether hearing and seeing, tasting and smelling, were distinct senses, or whether, by some metaphysical refinement, they could not all be referred to one sense.

2. They make no inquiry into the organs of the faculties.

3. They give no account of the obvious fact, of different individuals possessing the faculties in different degrees of endowment, which fit them for different pursuits.

4. They give no account of the effects of disease on the manifestations of the faculties.

5. They have given no philosophical account of the relations of external objects to the faculties, and could not do so while the faculties themselves continued unknown.

In consequence of these imperfections, it is impossible to apply, with reasonable success, the philosophy of mind, as taught by these distinguished authors, to any of the following purposes:

1. To the selection of proper pursuits for individuals according to their capacities; or to the selection of persons endowed with the necessary natural ability to fill particular offices. Men of penetration accomplish these ends by the aid of their natural sagacity, sharpened by experience; but metaphysical philosophy affords them no aid in doing so.

2. To the elucidation and treatment of insanity.

3. To the exposition of the relations of different sciences to the human faculties, an indispensable requisite in an effective system of education.

4. To the elucidation of the mental causes which produce the tendency to crime.

5. To the exposition of the effects of the condition of the bodily organs on the powers of mental manifestation.

Phrenology, on the other hand, is recommended by the following considerations :

1. No faculty of mind is admitted as primitive until the organ by which it is manifested be ascertained by observation.

In consequence, the phrenologists no more attempt to make and unmake faculties, or to analyze one into another, than they would attempt such feats in regard to the external senses. Every faculty stated as ascertained in phrenology, stands forth as a distinct mental capacity, whether of feeling or of thought, resting on the stable foundation of an organ, having specific functions, and standing related to determinate objects, very much as the external senses appear when studied in connection with their organic apparatus.

2. The fact is ascertained by observation, that the power of manifesting each of these faculties is in proportion, cæteris paribus, to the size of its organ; and that the relative size of the organs differ in different individuals.

Hence, it is possible to ascertain the strong and feeble powers in individual minds, and to apply this knowledge in dedicating them to particular pursuits. The same knowledge renders it possible to select persons enjoying particular mental qualifications to fill particular offices.

3. The mental faculties being studied in relation to their organs, their constitution in health is philosophically ascertained, and it becomes easy to understand their appearances under the influence of disease.

4. The fact that, cateris paribus, the power of manifesting the faculties is in proportion to the size of the organs, enables us to comprehend how some individuals, from having the organs of the animal feelings in excess, and the organs of the moral emotions in a state of deficiency, are prone to crime; and the knowledge of it aids us in their treatment.

5. The mental faculties being specifically ascertained by means of their organs, it becomes possible to determine the relations in which they stand to external objects; in other words, to form a rational system of Logic, and a really philosophical plan of education.

It is generally admitted, that Logic and mental science, as at present taught, are inapplicable to any practical purpose, except serving as a species of gymnastics for exercising the mental faculties of the young.

Professor Jardine, in speaking of the state of Logic when he entered the University of Glasgow, uses these words: “During several sessions after my appointment, the former practice was regularly followed; that is, the usual course of logic and metaphysics was explained by me in the most intelligible manner I could-subjected, no doubt, to the same animadversions as my predecessor. Though every day more and more convinced me that something was wrong in the system of instruction pursued in this class—that the subjects on which I lectured were not adapted to the age, the capacity, and the previous attainments of my pupils, I did not venture on any sudden or precipitate change. Meanwhile, the daily examination of the students at a separate hour, gave me opportunity of observing that the greater number of them comprehended very little of the doctrines explained ; that a few only of superior abilities, or of more advanced years, could give any account of them at all; and that the greatest part of the young men remembered only a peculiar phrases, or technical expressions, which they seemed to deliver by rote, unaccompanied with any distinct notion of their meaning. Im

a

« VorigeDoorgaan »