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fant and infallible church-in balancing the opinions of Gall. against those of Spurzheim, or compounding out of them a tertium quid, recommended by the authority of Scott or of Combe. All this may be very edifying to the true believers; but to us, who reject the whole revelation in the lump, it is of ho interest or importance whatever - and all we have to do is to explain the grounds of our incredulity..
The proposition of the Phrenologists is, as most of our readers probably know, that the degree in which any man possesses any intellectual faculty-moral virtue, vice, or propensitynay, any animal emotion or power of external sense or perception, or even, as we take it, any acquired habit, infirmity, or accomplishment-may be certainly known by the size of certain protuberances on his Skull: While the only explanation that is afforded of this startling assertion, is contained in the statement, that these bony excrescences indicate and correspond with certain other protuberances on the Brain, which are the natural terminations of the organs of the said powers and faculties—and that the powers and faculties themselves exist in a degree of force and perfection exactly corresponding to the size of the said organs.
The science which professes to elucidate this great and imi portant discovery,' is said to be a Science of Observation and so it is, in an emphatic sense:-seeing that all that is doctrinal about it consists in the foregoing bold asseveration of matter of fact-and that all that can be required to establish it; is sufficient evidence of the truth of these asseverations. It might seem easy then at once to determine its claims to our attention, by an examination of that evidence;--and to that issue, no doubt, in one sense, the question must ultimately come. But in almost all such cases, some preliminary inquiries are neces sary—and the result of these is often sufficient to supersede any thing else, and to settle the whole controversy. A proposition, in point of fact, may be ambiguous or unintelligible --and, before inquiring how it is proved, we must ascertain whether it has any meaning, and what that meaning truly is: When it is affirmed that certain projections on the skull, or the brain, are the Organs of all the Faculties and dispositions of the mind, it will not do to proceed at once to the alleged proofs of this assertion; we must first determine what is meant by organs, and what by faculties, and in what sense these terms are here to be understood. In the same way, an assertion which, when generally stated, may appear susceptible of proof, may turn out, when pursued into its details, to involve contradictions and inconsistencies which render all proof impossible ; Or, though in itself intelligible, and not absolutely contradictory, it may yet be so extremely improbable, as scarcely to justify a serious inquiry—more especially if the proofs by which it is proposed to establish it, are admitted to be of a very slippery and delicate nature, liable to be overlooked or mistaken by unpractised observers, and only to be duly appreciated by those who have studied the subject with the zeal and partiality of devotees. If it were asserted, for example, that every man detected cheating at play would be found to have the figure of a nine of diamonds in the transverse section of the nail of his great toe, we suspect there are not many people who would think it worth while to verify the fact by experiment: But if it were added, that the said figure, though perfectly formed, was to be sure exceedingly smals, and not to be discerned but with the aid of a particular glass- and when the section had been made at a particular angle, and the sun was in a certain position-we fancy that the discoverer would be left in the exclusive enjoyment of his creed, and that this science of observation' would not attract the curiosity even of a single observer. Now, in our view of the matter, this is nearly the case with the kindred science of Phrenology; and these few observations will sufficiently prepare the reader for the leading objections we have now to state against it.
In what sense then, is it said, or how is it proposed to prove, that certain portions of the brain, terminating in bumps on its surface, are the organs of different powers or faculties of the mind? The only organs of the mind of which we have hitherto had any knowledge, are those of the external Senses ;-and most certainly those now brought to light by the Phrenologists bear no resemblance, or even analogy, to organs of this description; and can never stand in the same relation to any of our mental powers. The truth however is, not so much that the word is used in a new sense by the Phrenologists, as that it is used without any meaning at all,--and that the familiarity of the term is made to cover and disguise a series of the most extravagant assumptions. It is assumed, first, that the mind is made up of a number of distinct faculties, of the greater part of which no one has any consciousness or perception, and some of them indeed not very conceivable,-then, that these several faculties can only operate through the instrumentality of certain material organs;-next, that though all this is quite certain, and not to be questioned, the mind is all the while utterly unconscious of being obliged to act by organs—then, that it is nevertheless indisputable that all these organs are parts of the brain, and nothing else,-and, finally, that the force or perfection of every faculty depends entirely on the size of its peculiar organ.
Now, the only organs of which we really know any thingand the only ones, we humbly conceive, which there is the least reason for supposing to exist in subservience to our mental operations-are, first of all, organs of faculties of the precise nature of which every one is constantly and intensely conscious—they are all exclusively organs of external perceptions, and of the sensations immediately connected with them: The mind is perfectly and continually aware of their agency- they are none of them merely parts of the brain and the strength or perfection of the faculties to which they minister have no dependence on the size of these organs. Not only are all these things quite certain, but it is solely on account of some of them, that our external senses have been recognised as organs of perception, sensation, or any other mental affection.
Upon what grounds then can the name of organs be applied to the bumps of the Phrenologists ? or in what sense is it really intended that this name should be received in their science ? The truth, we do not scruple to say it, is, that there is not the smallest reason for supposing that the mind ever operates through the agency of any material organs, except in its perception of material objects, or in the spontaneous movements of the body which it inhabits;—and that this whole science rests upon a postulate or assumption, for which there is neither any shadow of evidence or any show of reasoning. It is very true, that in our present state of existence, the mind is united, in some mysterious way, to a living and organized body—and that, when the vitality of this body ceases or is suspended, all the functions of the mind, and indeed all indications of its existence, cease and disappear also. Certain actions of the brain, too, we find, are necessary for the maintenance of this vitality-and not of the brain only, but of the heart and of the lungs also; and if any of these actions are stopped or disturbed, even for a moment, the vitality of the body, and along with it, in so far as we can judge, sensation, consciousness, and all other mental operations, are extinguished or suspended. But this, we humbịy conceive, affords no sort of proof that the mind, when it is not percipient of matter, acts or is affected by material organs of any sort; and certainly no proof that those organs are in the brain, any more than in the heart or the lungs. If the brain be greatly injured, or strongly compressed, all the faculties and functions will, no doubt, be destroyed. But the same effect will follow, and even more suddenly and completely, if the motion of the heart be stopped- or the cavity of the lungs be filled with unrespirable matter-although the brain remains perfectly sound and unaltered. Insects continue to perform all their functions after their heads are off; and cold-blooded animals live and move in the same predicament. But let us come back for a moment to the only organs of which we really know any thing--the organs of the five external senses.
If the theory of the Phrenologists be right, it would seem to follow, a fortiori, first, that all these senses must have organs in the brain, as well as a connected apparatus or machinery beyond it; And, secondly, it is, at all events, a fundamental point in their creed that the mind is not in any way conscious, or aware, even as to them, that it acts by means of organs having any locality at all. Now the first and most plausible of these propositions they have themselves been forced to abandon ;-and both, we humbly conceive, are not only gratuitous, but, in any sound sense, entirely unfounded and erroneous. . We see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and touch with our hands, or the surface of our whole body. These are facts, we think, which may be assumed without argument or explanation. Anatomy and experiment show farther, that the sensibility of these organs depends on the nerves which belong to them-on the optic and auditory nerves, for example, as to seeing and hearing, or on the nerves of touch for many other sensations: And it also appears, from the same experiments, that all these nerves terminate or originate in the brain, * and that if their connexion with the brain be cut off, they no longer perform their functions. This last fact proves, then, that a connexion with the brain is necessary to preserve these nerves in a proper state of vitality; but it does not prove that there is any particular part of the brain which is appropriated for this purpose; and still less that such a portion of brain is, either with or without the connected nerves, the material organ of sight, hearing, or touch. The nerves belonging to each of these senses seem, on the contrary, to form its only material organ; since, without them, whatever be the state of the brain,
* The nerves of touch originate, partly at least, in the spinal marrow, which is in some sense an elongation of the brain, and performs similar functions. The very ingenious experiments and speculations of Mr Charles Bell, followed up as they have been by those of Messrs Magendie and Flourens, have thrown a new and interesting light on the whole theory of the nervous system. . They seem to render it at least highly probable, that each nerve, or set of nerves, performs only a single function that those which minister to Sensation, for example, are different from those which produce voluntary Motion—and that the involuntary motions attending such functions, as respiration, &c. are performed by the instrumentality of a third set. There is nothing, however, in these spe.. cylations which at all interferes with the argument in the text, or affords any countenance to the strange attempt to assign material organs for such purely' mental operations as have no immediate reference to matter,
we can neither see, hear, or feel—and it is upon their peculiar structure or action that our sensations depend, though a connexion with the brain be necessary to maintain their capacity of action. Accordingly, it is very remarkable, that even Mr. Combe has assigned no cerebral organ to any of the five senses ! —and Spurzheim, as he quotes him (p. 268), has said distinctly, that he sees no reason to suppose that the functions of the
external senses require a particular portion of brain for their
determinate sensations'-a concession which we must own şurprises us not a little, in a philosopher of this school-since, if the mind really performs all its other functions by means of portions of the brain, there was still stronger ground for supposing that its external perceptions depended on parts of that substance, in which the nesves of the senses originate. The true phrenologist, however, seems to disdain all approach to ordinary probabilities in his doctrine; and accordingly, though there are organs relating to the objects of sight and of hearing in their arrangement, they are ingeniously placed at a distance from the terminations of the optic or auditory nerves,—the organ of colour being in the forehead, and that of tune on the eyebrow !
But they are all agreed, it seems, " that the mind has no knowledge either of the existence of the organs of sense, or,
of the functions performed by them,' (p. 267.) This, to most people, will probably appear more surprising still. Is it meant to be said that we do not know, certainly, naturally, and immediately, that we see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and feel with that part of our bodies on which an external impression is made ? Is it by a course of experiments and observations that those recondite truths have been discovered? Did they remain hidden from mankind during the lapse of many ages, till some former Gall or Spurzheim, by a gigantic effort of intellect, revealed the wonderful secret to his admiring contemporaries? When a man iş struck hard on the hand, does he not instantly refer his sensation to that part of his body?When he is dazzled with excessive light, does he, in any state of his reasoning or experience, stop his ears instead of closing his eyelids ? When stunned with noise, does he, in his most infantine condition, ever take his chance of excluding it by turning away his eyes? We know there is a metaphysical subtlety as to the proper province of consciousness, and the want of locality in the notion of mere sensation, by which the language at least of this part of the discussion may be perplexed, But it can never touch, or at all affect, the palpable fallacy of the allegation we are now considering, with reference to its intended application. We will not dispute about words. If there. be any objection to saying that we are conscious that our
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