Phrenology -- By: Enoch Pond

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 011:41 (Jan 1854)
Article: Phrenology
Author: Enoch Pond


Enoch Pond

Although we have done with the five fundamental principles of phrenology, we have still some additional objections and remarks, to which we would invite the attention of our readers.

First of all, we object to the name of this alleged science. It should never have been called phrenology. It should rather have retained the name which Dr. Gall first gave to it, craniology. Phrenology is the science of mind; whereas this is primarily the science of skulls. To be sure, it treats of the mind more or less; but only of the mind as manifested through the brain and skull. The brain is, in the strictest sense, the organ of the mind; and the size of the brain, as indicated by the size and shape of the skull, is the measure of the mind’s power. The brain consists of a congeries of organs, whose base is indicated on the outer surface of the skull; each of these organs has a corresponding mental faculty, which operates by it, and through it. In proportion to the size of the organ, as indicated on the skull, is the strength and vigor of its corresponding faculty; hence, by an examination of the skull, the mental traits of the subject may be discovered. Such are the acknowledged principles of the science; and who does not see that it is rather craniology, than phrenology? It does not begin with the mind, ascertain its phenomena and faculties, and from these reason outward to the skull; but it begins with the skull — its size, its shape, its indentations, and bumps; from which it infers the size and shape of the brain; and from this the faculties and character of the mind. It is primarily, therefore, craniology and not phrenology, and should not have been honored by its indiscreet friends with a name which does not properly belong to it. So far as the force of a name is concerned, they have in this way converted the noble science of mind (as one expresses it) into “a mere Golgotha — a place of skulls.”

Our second remark is, that, so far as important practical knowl-

edge is concerned, phrenology teaches nothing new. One would think, from the boasts of its friends, from the sounding eulogiums which they are wont to pass upon it, that it had introduced a new era in philosophy, and should be regarded as the guiding star of the age. They claim that it is the most valuable discovery ever made, and that it will contribute more important aid towards the education and gradual improvement of the race, than can be derived from any other source. “Before the appearance of Gall and Spurzheim,” says Mr. Combe, “the science of mind was in much the same state as that of the heavenly bodies, prior to Galileo and Newton.” Again, he s...

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