Article ID: CBB316812365

Matter Over Mind? The Rise and Fall of Phrenology in Nineteenth-Century France (2020)


The history of phrenology in France has a number of unique features. It was in that country that F. J. Gall sought refuge; and it was, above all, in France that phrenology would subsequently attempt to establish its credentials as a new physiological science of the mind. Up until the 1840s, phrenology expanded rapidly in the country, a growth that coincided with attempts to provide this new field with the trappings of respectable scientific endeavor—courses of lectures, learned societies, journals, and so on. This ambitious intellectual project, despite its controversial nature, made a major cultural impact in the nineteenth century, both through its influence on the written word—from learned journals to the novel—and via its striking visual imagery (sculpture, anatomical diagrams and models, engravings, caricatures, and so on). However, as the scientific impact of phrenology declined, allusions to it lost much of their cultural force. On the borderline between respectable science and mere quackery, phrenology in France represented an attempt to construct a whole new intellectual universe based on scientific principles, and as such had a profound impact on its period.

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Article Paul Eling; Stanley Finger (2020) Gall and Phrenology: New perspectives. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences (pp. 1-4). 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
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
British Journal for the History of Science
Jahrbuch für Europäische Wissenschaftskultur
History of Psychiatry
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Oxford University Press
Science and culture
Brain localization
Gall, Franz Joseph
Spurzheim, Johann Kaspar
Maine de Biran, François Pierre Gonthier
Comte, Auguste
Mill, John Stuart
Blainville, Henri Marie Ducrotay de
Great Britain
19th century
18th century

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