Article ID: CBB001551835

Matters of Sex and Gender in F. J. Gall's Organology: A Primary Approach (2014)


The originator of phrenology, F. J. Gall (1758--1828), saw himself as a natural scientist and physiologist. His approach consisted of brain anatomy but also of palpating skulls and inferring mental faculties. Unlike some of the philosophical principles underlying Gall's work, his conception of sex/gender has not yet been examined in detail. In this article, I will focus on Gall's treatment of men and women, his idea of sex differences, and how far an assumed existence of dichotomous sexes influenced his work. In examining his primary writings, I will argue that Gall held some contradictory views concerning the origin and manifestation of sex/gender characteristics, which were caused by the collision of his naturalistic ideas and internalized gender stereotypes. I will conclude that Gall did not aim at deducing or legitimizing sex/gender relations scientifically, but that he tried to express metaphysical reasons for a given social order in terms of functional brain mechanisms.

Includes Series Articles

Article Chátal, Alexandr (2014) Jiří Procháska (1749--1820): Part 2: “De structura nervorum”---Studies on a Structure of the Nervous System. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences (pp. 1-25). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Eling, Paul
Finger, Stanley
van Wyhe, John
Whitaker, Harry A.
Piazza, Marco
Draaisma, Douwe
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
British Journal for the History of Science
Jahrbuch für Europäische Wissenschaftskultur
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
University of Chicago Press
Oxford University Press
Brain localization
Science and culture
Gall, Franz Joseph
Spurzheim, Johann Kaspar
Combe, George
Maine de Biran, François Pierre Gonthier
Comte, Auguste
Mill, John Stuart
United States
19th century
18th century

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