Article ID: CBB935430086

Franz Joseph Gall Came to Copenhagen, and for a Brief Moment the Brain Was the Talk of the Town (2020)


When the inventor of phrenology, Franz Joseph Gall, came to Denmark in the fall of 1805, he was met with great enthusiasm and fascination among the general public, as well as within the scientific community. His visit was an event that was covered by the newspapers unlike any other scientific lecture. However, as soon as Gall left, public interest in phrenology almost instantaneously vanished. Different theories have been put forth in the attempt to answer the question as to why phrenology never found a audience in Denmark. The Danish phrenologist Carl Otto explained it by referring to the poor quality of the Danish phrenological publications. Danish historians have argued that phrenology was too incompatible with the dominant scientific paradigm, Natürphilosophie. This article argues that the newspaper coverage of phrenology was more about sensational news stories than about science, and ultimately phrenology was a fad that wore off when the newspapers shifted their focus to other news.

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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
Nielsena, Kristian Hvidtfelt
Whitaker, Harry A.
Kragh, Helge S.
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Jahrbuch für Europäische Wissenschaftskultur
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Science Communication
History of Psychology
Roskilde Universitetsforlag
Oxford University Press
Public understanding of science
Gall, Franz Joseph
Spurzheim, Johann Kaspar
Combe, George
Maine de Biran, François Pierre Gonthier
Thomsen, Christian Jürgensen
Kant, Immanuel
Copenhagen (Denmark)
Great Britain
19th century
18th century
20th century, early
21st century
Royal Museum of Nordic Antiquities (Denmark)

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