Phrenological bust by LN FowlerPhrenological bust by LN FowlerThe History of Phrenology on the Web

by John van Wyhe

George Combe's A System of Phrenology, 5th edn, 2 vols. 1853.

Vol. 1: [front matter], Intro, Nervous system, Principles of Phrenology, Anatomy of the brain, Division of the faculties 1.Amativeness 2.Philoprogenitiveness 3.Concentrativeness 4.Adhesiveness 5.Combativeness 6.Destructiveness, Alimentiveness, Love of Life 7.Secretiveness 8.Acquisitiveness 9.Constructiveness 10.Self-Esteem 11.Love of Approbation 12.Cautiousness 13.Benevolence 14.Veneration 15.Firmness 16.Conscientiousness 17.Hope 18.Wonder 19.Ideality 20.Wit or Mirthfulness 21.Imitation.
Vol. 2: [front matter], external senses, 22.Individuality 23.Form 24.Size 25.Weight 26.Colouring 27.Locality 28.Number 29.Order 30.Eventuality 31.Time 32.Tune 33.Language 34.Comparison, General observations on the Perceptive Faculties, 35.Causality, Modes of actions of the faculties, National character & development of brain, On the importance of including development of brain as an element in statistical inquiries, Into the manifestations of the animal, moral, and intellectual faculties of man, Statistics of Insanity, Statistics of Crime, Comparative phrenology, Mesmeric phrenology, Objections to phrenology considered, Materialism, Effects of injuries of the brain, Conclusion, Appendices: No. I, II, III, IV, V, [Index], [Works of Combe].

( 163 )


IT has long been a matter of general observation, that men possessing a profound and comprehensive intellect, such as Socrates, Bacon, and Galileo, have the upper part of the forehead greatly developed. At Vienna Dr Gall remarked, that in the most zealous disciples of Kant, men distinguished for profound, penetrating, metaphysical talent, the parts of the brain lying immediately at the sides of the organ of Comparison were distinctly enlarged. He and Dr Spurzheim subsequently saw a mask of Kant himself, moulded after death, and perceived an extraordinary projection of these parts. At a later period, they became personally acquainted with Fichte, and found in him a development of that region still larger than in Kant. Innumerable additional observations satisfied them concerning the function of this organ ; Dr Gall named it " Esprit métaphysique, Profondeur d'esprit," and Dr Spurzheim " Causality." This organ and Comparison are large in Melancthon, vol. i. p. 141, Tasso, p. 453, Chaucer and Locke, p. 477, and Michael Angelo, vol. ii. p. 29 ; small in idiot, vol. i. p. 45, New Hollander, p. 57, and Griffiths, p. 382.

Dr Thomas Brown says : "A cause, in the fullest definition which it philosophically admits, may be said to be that which immediately precedes any change, and which, existing at any time in similar circumstances, has been always, and will be always, immediately followed by a similar change. Priority, in the sequence observed, and invariableness of antecedence in the past and future sequences supposed, are the elements, and the only elements, combined in the notion of a cause." This is a definition by means of Individuality and Eventuality, of the function of Causality, but it is not complete. When we treat of a primitive power of the mind, all that we can do is to describe it, to state the objects to which it is related, and to give it a name. We cannot, by means of a definition, enable a person who never experienced its


activity, to understand what it is. The definition of Dr Brown describes, with sufficient accuracy, the circumstances in which the perception of causation is excited ; but it does not convey any notion of the primitive mental faculty by which the perception is accomplished. In addition to the invariable sequence which Eventuality perceives, a notion of power or efficiency in the antecedent to produce the consequent, appears to me to arise in the mind, when contemplating instances of causation ; and this notion is formed and manifested by means of the organ of Causality.

"We have no notion of substance, except as it is unfolded to us in its qualities., yet we have a firm conviction that substance exists. "We see only sequence in causation ; yet we have an irresistible conviction that efficiency exists in the antecedent to produce the consequent. Individuality gives the first, and Causality the second conviction, and both give belief in the existence of something, the essential nature of which is unknown.

It is said, that it is only by experience, or by observing the invariableness of the sequence, that we discover the connexion of cause and effect ; and this is true r but in this respect Causality does not differ from the other faculties. Caloric, as existing in nature, is one thing, and the sensation of heat produced by it in the human body, is another. Before the mind can experience the sensation, heat must be applied to the nerves ; but even after the sensation has been felt, the mind knows nothing about what caloric is in itself, or how it comes to have the quality of causing the sensation. All that the mind discovers is, that caloric, be it what it may, exists ; and that it is capable of producing certain effects on matter, arid of exciting in the living body that peculiar feeling which we name heat or warmth. The same holds in regard to Causality. Before the mind can know the existence of a cause, it must manifest itself by producing an effect. The application of caloric to the nerves produces the feeling of heat ; and the presentment of an instance of causation excites in Causality the notion that a cause exists.


Suppose a bent bow, with, an arrow drawn to the head, but retained in this position, to be presented, it is said that Causality, prior to experience, could never discover that, on the restraining power being withdrawn, the bow would expand and propel the arrow ; and this is quite correct ; because a bow in this condition is an object which, excites only the faculties of Form, Size, Colouring, and Individuality. It is an object of still life, of simple existence ; when it expands, and the arrow starts from the string, it becomes an object of Eventuality, which perceives the motion ; but, in addition to the perception of the bow and the motion, an impression is generated, that the expansion was the cause of the arrow's motion ; and this impression arises through the medium of Causality. The most illiterate savage would repeat the operation in the confidence that the effect would follow. A monkey, however, although it might find the arrow very useful in knocking down fruit which it could not reach with, its hands, would not repeat the operation although presented with the bow and arrow. It possesses hands and arms quite adapted to draw the string ; but having no organ of Causality, it does not conceive the notion of causation : it sees the phenomena succeed each other, without any idea of efficiency being excited.1

1 Beavers and others of the lower animals appear, at first sight, to have some degree of Causality. Beavers adapt the structure of their dam with surprising sagacity to the pressure of the water ; and in preparing it, they not only cut trees in such a way as to ensure their falling into the water and not on dry land, but select trees so situated, that when they do fall, the stream shall carry them to the spot where they wish them to be placed. There appears to be a knowledge of cause and effect in these operations ; and yet the beaver cannot apply this knowledge out of its own department, lam inclined, therefore, to give a different explanation. It is probable that each knowing faculty is adapted to the natural laws of its objects ; the organ of Tune is fitted not only to feel in accordance with the laws of harmony, but instinctively to seek to obey them in producing music ; it desires melody, and melody cannot be produced except in conformity with these laws : it therefore tries, and tries again, until at last it succeeds in producing sounds agreeable to itself, and, just because its constitution and the laws of harmony are in accordance, it at last fulfils these laws by instinctive impulse, without knowing them as subjects of reflec-


Individuality and Eventuality take cognizance of things obvious to the senses. Causality looks a little farther than

tion. It is probable that the organs of Constructiveness and "Weight in the beaver, are in like manner adapted to the laws of gravitation and motion, and that it instinctively obeys them without knowing any thing reflectively of the laws themselves. This would account for its powers being perfect, yet limited in their sphere. Constructiveness and Weight in man also may be adapted to these laws, but, by the addition of Causality, he may become acquainted with natural powers as general agents, and capable of tracing their general application. Thus, a beaver, an elephant, and a savage, may, by the mere instinct of Weight and Momentum, roll or pull a heavy body, which they cannot lift, up an inclined plane, without knowing any thing of the causes why they succeed in raising it in this way; but a philosopher, with great Causality, may recognise the existence of the cause, ascertain the laws of its operation, and then apply his discovery to a variety of purposes. This would account for philosophers often excelling in particular branches of science, who are moderately endowed with Causality-Newton, for example, in mathematics and dynamics ; while no man is ever observed to be eminent for his talent of applying causation generally, who has a deficiency of that kind. Some philosophers, 'however, believe that the lower animals possess some degree of causality. Beavers modify their structures to adapt them to new circumstances, and I have seen a monkey run in terror when a gun was presented towards it,-indicating that, from having seen it fired, it knew it to be a destructive engine. These effects might result from a very low degree of Causality, sufficient to give perception of causation, but not enough to lead to the active employment of causes to accomplish ends ; and in this case the remark in the text would be too broad. Dr Vimont says : " I am much inclined to believe that the faculty of Causality exists in certain animals, such as the elephant, the orang-outang, and the dog ; though in a degree so inferior, that they cannot in this respect be compared with man. I believe that it is to the considerable endowment of this faculty in the latter, that we ought chiefly to ascribe the immense distance which exists between him and the brutes." Dr Elliotson observes : " I see daily instances of something deserving some such name as judgment or reason in brutes. To the incredulous I offer the following anecdote in the words of Dr Darwin. ' A wasp on a gravel walk had caught a fly nearly as large as itself. Kneeling on the ground, I observed him separate the tail and the head from the body part to which the wings were attached. He then took the body part in his paws, and rose about two feet from the ground with it ; but a gentle breeze wafting the wings of the fly turned him round in the air, and he settled again with his prey upon the gravel. I then distinctly observed him cut off with his mouth first one of the wings and then the other, after which he flew away with


these, perceives the dependencies of phenomena, and furnishes the idea of causation, as implying efficiency, or something more than mere juxta-position or sequence. It impresses us with an irresistible conviction, that every phenomenon or change in nature is caused by something, and hence, by successive steps, leads us to the great Cause of all. In looking at the actions of men, it inclines us to consider the motives, or moving causes, from which they proceed. Individuality and Eventuality apprehend facts and events, or take cognizance of direct evidence ; Causality judges of circumstantial evidence, or that by inference. In a trial, a juryman, with large Individuality and Eventuality, and small Causality, will have great difficulty in convicting on circumstantial evidence. He in whom Causality is large will often feel that kind of proof to be irresistible. This faculty induces us on all occasions to ask, Why is this so I It gives deep penetration, and the perception of logical consequence in argument. It is large in persons who possess a natural genius for metaphysics, political economy, or similar sciences. "When greatly larger than Individuality, Eventuality, and Comparison, it tends to vague generalities of speculation, altogether inapplicable to the affairs of life ; and hence those in whom it predominates are not calculated to shine in general society. Their sphere of thought is too abstract to be reached by ordinary minds : they feel this, and remain silent ; and hence are reputed dull, heavy, and even stupid.

A great defect of the organ renders the intellect superficial ; and unfits the individual for forming comprehensive and consecutive views, either in abstract science or in business. Coincidence only, and not causation, in events is then

it unmolested with the wind.' Zoonomia : Instinct. The works of the two Hubers Sur les mours des fourmis indigènes, furnish an abundance of most interesting instances of reason in those insects. See also Mr Smellie's paper in the Transact, of Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. i. p. 89, sqq."--(Elliotson's Blumenbach, 4th ed. p. 543). An additional instance will be found in The Phrenological Journal, vol. viii. p. 73.


perceived.1 Persons in whom it is deficient are often admirably fitted for common situations, or for executing plans devised by profounder intellects ; but, if they are entrusted with the duties of legislators, or become directors in any public affair embracing causation, it is difficult to make them comprehend the natural dependencies of things, and to act according to them. Blind to causes and to remote consequences, they stigmatize as visionary all intellectual perceptions which their own minds cannot reach ; they reject principle as vain theory, are captivated by expedients, and represent these as the beau ideal of practical wisdom.

Dr Spurzheim observes, that " the faculty of Individuality makes us acquainted with objects, that of Eventuality with events ; Comparison points out their identity, analogy, or difference, and finds out their harmony ; finally, Causality desires to know the causes of all occurrences. Consequently, these faculties together, pointing out general principles and laws, and drawing conclusions, inductions, or corollaries, constitute the truly philosophic understanding.'5

It is interesting to trace the effects of this faculty, strong or weak, in the mental character, as it exhibits itself in the occurrences of life. In a visit to a great public work, I accompanied two gentlemen, in one of whom Individuality was large

1 The following amusing and instructive observations occur in the Phrenological Journal, vol. xii. p. 293. " Specimen of Irish Causation." -" In a history of Ireland, published about a century ago, the author accounts for the death of an Irish monarch by the following satisfactory explanation :-' He lived to a very advanced age, until death put an end to his life.' It would be interesting to know by what mental process the effect was made to stand for the cause of itself, in the historian's notions. We have noticed this style of expression to be habitual with many persons in whom the organs of Individuality are large, and the upper part of the forehead deficient in proportion to the lower. It seems that, in persons whose heads are thus formed, every noun is taken as the name of some supposed being, having a real and individual existence ; and in this way, words truly indicating only changes or states of being, come to be regarded as agents capable of .performing actions. According to our observations, blunders of this kind are rarely made, but often detected in others, by persons in whose heads the organs called Wit are largely developed."

causality. 169

and Causality small, and in the other of whom the proportions of these organs were reversed. The former, in surveying the different objects and operations, put question after question to the workmen, in rapid and long-continued succession ; and nearly all the information which he carried away with him was acquired in answer to specific interrogatories. His mind scarcely supplied a step by its own reflection ; and did not appear to survey the operations as a systematic whole. The latter individual looked a long time in silence before he put a question at all ; and when he did ask one, it was, "What is the use of that ? The answer enabled his own mind to supply a multitude of additional ideas ; he proceeded in his examination, and it was only on arriving at another incomprehensible part of the apparatus, that he again inquired. When he had surveyed the whole, he turned back, and, with the most apparent satisfaction, contemplated in silence the operations from beginning to end, as an entire system. I heard him afterwards describe what he had seen, and discovered that he had carried of a distinct comprehension of the principles and objects of the work. It is probable that a superficial observer would have regarded the first as the acute, intelligent, and observing man of genius-the person who noticed every thing, and asked about every thing ; and the latter as a dull uninteresting man, who put only two or three questions, looked heavily, and said nothing.

A gentleman in a boat was unexpectedly desired to steer. He took hold of the helm, hesitated a moment what to do, and then steered with just effect. Being asked why he hesitated, he replied, " I was unacquainted with steering, and required to think how the helm acts." He was requested to explain how thinking led him to the point, and replied, That he knew, from study, the theory of the helm's action; that he just ran over in his mind the water's action upon it, and its action on the boat, and then he saw the whole plainly before him. He had a full Causality, and not much Individuality. A person with great Individuality and Eventuality,


and little Causality, placed in a similar situation, would have tried the experiment of the helm's action, to come to a knowledge of the mode of steering : he would have turned it to the right hand and to the left, observed the effect, and then acted accordingly; and he might have steered during his whole subsequent life, without knowing any thing more about the matter.

A question arose in an evening party concerning the cause of the harvest moon. In one gentleman present, Individuality and Eventuality predominated: in another, Causality was the larger intellectual organ. In an instant the former said that the long continuance of moon-light at that season was owing to the moon's advancing north to the tropic of Cancer at the time of her being full. The latter paused for a little, and added, " Yes, Sir, you are quite right." Observing the difference in their heads, and perceiving by their manner that they had arrived at the result by different mental processes, I asked them to explain how they knew this to be the cause. The first said, " Oh ! I recollect Professor Playfair stated it in his lectures to be so.1" The other replied, "I had forgotten the precise fact, but I recollected the principle on which the Professor mentioned it to depend, and by a moment's reflection I followed it out, and arrived at the conclusion which this gentleman has just announced." "I am not sure," said the former, " that I could now master the principle, but of the result I am quite certain ; because I distinctly recollect of its being stated by Mr Playfair." This is a striking example of the mode of action of these different faculties. Individuality knows only facts, and Eventuality events ; while Causality alone takes cognizance of principles.

Causality is the fountain of resources. Place an individual, in whom it is small, in new circumstances, and he will be helpless and bewildered ; place another, in whom it is large, in a similar situation, and he will shew his superiority by the extent of his inventions. A mechanic, with little Causality, will be at a stand if his ordinary tools are wanting, or if employed out of his ordinary line : another, having


this faculty powerful, will find a thousand substitutes. If a person deficient in Causality be placed in charge of any establishment, comprehending a variety of duties which arise the one out of the other, and all of which cannot be anticipated and specified a priori he will be prone to neglect part of what he ought to attend to. He will probably plead forget-fulness as his excuse ; but want of comprehensiveness and consecutiveness of thinking will be the real cause of his imperfections.

If a person possessing little Causality write a book, he may shine in narrative, provided Individuality, Eventuality, and Language be amply developed ; but when he endeavours to reason, he will become feeble and confused. One endowed with much Causality, in reading a work written by an author in whom this organ is deficient, feels it characterized by lightness and want of depth ; it furnishes him with no stimulus to thinking. When, on the other hand, a person possessing only a small Causality, peruses a book composed by an author in whom this organ predominates, such as Locke's Essays, or Brown's Lectures, he regards it as heavy, abstract, and dry, and is oppressed by it as if a night-mare were weighing on his mind.

Among metaphysicians, Hume, Dr Adam Smith, and Dr Thomas Brown display great Causality, Dr Reid not so much, and Mr Stewart still less. In the portraits of the first three the organ is represented as decidedly large. It is large also in Bacon, Franklin, and Playfair ; and likewise in the masks of Haydon, Burke, Brunei, Wordsworth, and Wilkie. It is moderate in Pitt and Sir J. E. Smith ; and very deficient in the skulls of the Caribs and New Hollanders. An anonymous writer observes, that, " of whatever has been said and written upon the moral and political sciences in France, the general characteristic is a deficiency in extensive views of human nature, in profound investigation of the heart, portrayed in all its strongest feelings and multitudinous bearings."1 Without subscribing to the accuracy of 1 Edinburgh Review, Nov. 1820, p. 389.


this observation in its full extent, the fact may be mentioned as certain, that, in the French head in general, the organ of Causality is by no means largely developed.

" It is remarkable," says Dr Spurzheim, "that the ancient artists should always have given to their busts of philosophers a large forehead, and represented Jupiter Capitolinus with a forehead in the middle part more prominent than is ever seen in nature ; they seem to hate observed that development of the forehead has a relation to great understanding. It is farther remarkable, than this larger development does not extend to the lateral upper portion of the forehead. The organ of Mirthfulness, which the Edinburgh phrenologists are inclined to consider as that of perceiving differences, is small in the busts of Demosthenes, Cicero, and other great men ; it is particularly defective in Jupiter. In this respect, therefore, the observations of the ancient artists coincide with mine, to prove that the organ of Mirthfulness is not necessary to a philosophical mind."1 The bust of Socrates (of which the Phrenological Society possesses a copy) shews a very large development of the reflecting organs. Either it is a correct representation of his real appearance, and thus presents an interesting coincidence between his character and development ; or it is imaginary, and, in that case, shews the impression of the ancient artist, that the mind of Socrates required such a tenement for its abode.

As already mentioned, when the organ now under consideration is very deficient, the individual has great difficulty in perceiving causation ; and when two events are presented to him the one following the other, he sees only coincidence. Illustrations of this remark frequently occur in discussions relative to Phrenology. When Causality is well developed in an observer, and several decided instances of concomitance between particular forms of head and particular powers of mind are presented to him, the feeling of connexion between them is irresistible ; he is struck with it, and declares that there is something here which ought to be followed out.

1 Phrenology, last edition, Boston, U. S. 1832, p. 356.


When the same facts are exhibited to a person in whom Causality is deficient, he smiles surprisedly, and ejaculates, " A curious coincidence !" but his mind receives no strong impression of connexion between the phenomena ; he feels no desire to follow out the ideas to their consequences, and has no wish to prosecute the investigation. It was from this class of minds, ever ready to catch superficial glimpses, that the public received the first accounts of Phrenology ; and on them are chargeable the misrepresentations which so long impeded its course.

In The Phrenological Journal., vol. xi., p. 326, a case is reported by Mr James Smellie of Glasgow, in which an operative engineer, in consequence of a fracture of the skull affecting the organs of Causality and Ideality on the right side, became " incapable of understanding or of uttering any thing farther than the most simple idea." Although he was able " to go to a friend's house, about a mile distant, in the evenings, and join in the exercise of vocal music, yet he was unfit to give any lengthened account of himself, or tell any story which could be understood." " Still he was sometimes in good spirits, and laughed, and tried to joke with his friends."

This faculty is an ingredient in the Judgment of the metaphysicians. As there are individuals so deficient in the organ of Tune, as to be incapable of perceiving melody, so there are some in whom Causality is so defective that they are incapable of perceiving causation, except of the most obvious kind. If such persons are not aware of their own deficiency, and have much Self-Esteem and Firmness, they are often intolerable dogmatists, as they hold fast by all notions which they have adopted, from whatever source they may have been derived, and shew an utter incapacity for reasoning. There are others in whom the organ is large enough to render them capable of apprehending an exposition of causation, when clearly unfolded to them ; but in whom it is still so moderate that they cannot reproduce the steps of the argument by which they were convinced. Such men


often possess sound opinions on abstract subjects, without being able to assign sufficient reasons for them.

Causality is also, to a certain extent, the fountain of abstract ideas, namely, those of the relation of cause and effect ; and bears, in this respect, an analogy to the power named abstraction by the old philosophers. It and Comparison correspond to the Relative Suggestion of Dr Thomas Brown ; " a tendency of the mind," as he explains it, " by which, on perceiving or conceiving objects together, we are instantly impressed with certain feelings of their mutual relation."1 By dispensing with Perception, Conception, &c., as separate faculties of the mind, and dividing the intellect into the two faculties of Simple Suggestion and Relative Suggestion, Dr Brown has made an interesting approach to the results of phrenological discovery, and to a correct analysis of the actual constitution of the human intellect. It was impossible, by means of the old faculties of Conception, &c., to point out the characteristics of a mind which collected only facts in the order in which they were presented to it ; and of another, which struck out a multitude of new ideas from every object which it contemplated, and instinctively inquired from what causes all phenomena proceeded, and to what results they tended. Dr Brown's Simple Suggestion denotes the one tendency, and his Relative Suggestion the other ; and, in Phrenology, the perceptive faculties correspond pretty closely to the former, and the Reflective powers to the latter.

We are now prepared to consider some points which have occasioned great and animated discussions among the metaphysical writers of the old schools. It has been stated, that Individuality takes cognizance of objects that exist. A tree, a ship, a mountain, are presented to the mind, and ideas or conceptions of them are formed ; and the conception is followed by an intuitive belief in their existence. Bishop Berkeley objects to the belief in their existence as unphilosophical ; because, says he, the conception or idea is a mere mental affection, and no reason can be assigned, why an ex-

1 Lectures, vol. iii. p. 14.


ternal object must be believed to exist, merely because we experience a mental affection. A smell, for example, is nothing more than a certain impression on the mind, communicated through the olfactory nerves. But no necessary connexion can be perceived between this affection and belief in the existence of a rose : the mind may undergo the affection called a smell, just as it experiences the emotion called joy, and a material object may have as little to do in causing the one as the other. Hence Dr Berkeley concluded, that we have philosophical evidence for the existence only of mind and mental affections, and none for the existence of the material world, Hume carried this argument farther, and maintained, that, as we are conscious only of ideas, and as the existence of ideas does not necessarily imply the existence of mind, we have philosophical evidence for the existence of ideas only, and none for that of either matter or mind. Dr Reid answered Berkeley's objection by observing, that the belief in external objects, consequent on perceiving them, is intuitive, and hence requires no reason for its support.

- Phrenology enables us to refer these different speculations to their sources in the different faculties. Individuality (aided by the other perceptive faculties), in virtue of its constitution, perceives external objects, and its action is accompanied by intuitive belief in their existence. But Berkeley employed the faculty of Causality to discover why it is that this perception is followed by belief; and because Causality could give no account of the matter, and could see no necessary connexion between the mental affection called perception, and the existence of external nature, he denied that that nature exists. Dr Reid's answer, translated into phrenological language, was simply this :-The cognizance of the existence of the outward world belongs to Individuality : Individuality has received its own constitution, and its own functions, and cannot legitimately be called on to explain or account for these to Causality. In virtue of its constitution, it perceives the existence of external objects, and belief in that existence follows ; and if Causality cannot see how this


happens, it is a proof that Causality's powers are limited, but not that Individuality is deceitful in its indications. Another class of philosophers, by an error springing from an analogous source, have denied causation. When Eventuality contemplates circumstances connected by the relation of cause and effect, it perceives only one event following another, in immediate and invariable sequence. For example, if a cannon be fired, and the shot knock down a wall, Individuality and some other perceptive faculties observe only the existence of the powder. Eventuality perceives the fire applied to it, the explosion, and the fall of the building, as events following in succession ; but it forms no idea of power in the gunpowder, when ignited, to produce the effect. When Causality, on the other hand, is joined with Eventuality in contemplating these phenomena, the impression of power or efficiency in the exploding gunpowder to produce the effect, arises spontaneously in the mind, and Causality produces an intuitive belief in the existence of this efficiency, just because it is its constitution to do so ; and it is as absurd for Eventuality to deny the existence of some quality in the powder which gives rise to this feeling, because only Causality perceives it, as for Causality to deny the existence of the external world, because only the knowing faculties perceive it. A practical application of much importance follows from these doctrines. Some men deny the existence of God ; and others strenuously maintain, that his existence is demonstrable by a legitimate exercise of reason. The former, who deny God, say, that all we perceive in nature is existence and the succession of phenomena ; that we can form no idea of efficiency or power ; and that, therefore, all we know philosophically is, that matter exists, and undergoes certain changes. This is the natural conclusion of men in whose heads Individuality and Eventuality are large, and Causality small; and, accordingly, atheists are generally very deficient in the organ of Causality, and shew its weakness in their general arguments on other topics. If, on the other hand, a mind


of nature, the conviction of a Cause of them arises irresistibly and intuitively from the mere exercise of the faculty. Benevolence and design in the arrangements of the moral and physical world are clearly perceived by it ; and it therefore instinctively infers, that benignity and intelligence are attributes of the cause which produced them. Hence the fact is phrenologically explained, why all master spirits are believers in God. Socrates, Plato, and the ancient philosophers, are represented as endowed with large organs of Causality ; and they all admitted a Deity. Voltaire had too large a Causality to doubt of the existence of God ; and Franklin continued to reverence the Supreme Being, although he had renounced Christianity.

To some who, perhaps for the sake of argument, have seemed inclined to deny the existence of a Deity, I have made the following appeal, without receiving any satisfactory answer :-A tree with roots exists ; the earth exists ; and there is an exquisite adaptation of the one to the other. The adaptation is not a quality of the tree, nor of the earth ; but a relation between them. It has no physical existence, but is clearly apprehended by mind. Adaptation and its design being obvious, an intelligent mind must have contrived it ; and this mind we call the Deity. Causality perceives the adaptation.

Another argument resorted to by atheists finds an answer in the principles now explained. They object that we have no evidence, from reason, of the self-existence of God ; and affirm, that, for any thing we know to the contrary, the Maker of the world may himself own a superior, and have been created. Their objection is stated in this form : " You who believe in God infer his existence from seeing his works, on the principle that every effect must have a cause. But," say they, " this Being himself is an effect. You have no evidence from reason of his self-existence or self-creation ; and, as he does exist, you must assign a cause of him, on the same principle that you regard him as the cause of the material creation." The atheists carry this argument the



length of a denial of God altogether, in respect that it is only first cause that, according to them, can legitimately be regarded as Deity ; and the first cause, say they, is to us unknown.

This speculation may be answered as follows :-The knowing faculties perceive objects directly, and Causality infers qualities from manifestations. To be able to judge thoroughly of any object, the whole of these faculties must be employed on it. When a watch, for example, is presented to us, the knowing faculties perceive its spring, lever, and wheels, and Causality discerns their object or design. If the question is put, "Whence did the watch proceed Î-from the nature of its materials, as perceived by the knowing faculties, Causality infers that it could not make itself; and from discovering intelligence and design in the adaptation of its parts, this faculty concludes, that its cause must have possessed these qualities, and therefore assigns its production to an intelligent artificer. Suppose the statement to be next made-" This artificer himself is an existence, and every existence must have a cause ; who, then, made the watchmaker V' In this case, if no farther information were presented to Causality than what it could obtain by contemplating the structure of the watch, the answer would necessarily be, that it could not tell. But let the artificer, or man, be submitted to the joint observation of the knowing faculties and Causality, and let the question be put, Who made him ?-the knowing powers, by examining the structure of his body, would present Causality with data from which it could unerringly infer, that although it perceived in him intelligence and power sufficient to make the watch, yet, from the nature of his constitution, he could not possibly have made himself. Proceeding in the investigation, Causality, still aided by the knowing faculties, would perceive the most striking indications of power, benevolence, and design in the human frame ; and from contemplating these, it would arrive at a complete conviction, that the watchmaker is the work of a great, powerful, and


intelligent Being. If, however, the question were repeated, " Whence did this Being proceed V Causality could not answer, any more than it could tell, from seeing the watch alone, who made the watchmaker. The perceptive faculties cannot observe the substance of the Maker of the human body : his existence is discovered by Causality alone ; and all that it can accomplish is to infer his existence, and his qualities or attributes, from perceiving their manifestations. Judging by means of reason alone, the inscription, " To the unknown God," on the altar in Athens, mentioned by St Paul, was strictly philosophical. It embodied a clear acknowledgment of the existence of a God, while it professed profound ignorance of his substance and mode of being. Dr Vimont remarks, that we cannot fully comprehend God without being his equal ; just as a dog cannot comprehend the human mind, in consequence of its utter want of several of the human faculties. Nevertheless, we are, as I have attempted to shew, capable of attaining to a thorough Conviction of his existence, and of his possessing the attributes which we see manifested in his works.

I have stated the argument in the plainest language, but with perfect reverence ; and we are arrived at the conclusion, that this faculty is silent as to the cause of the Creator of man, and cannot tell whether he is self-existent, or called into being by some higher power. But thus far it can go, and it draws its conclusions unhesitatingly, that he must exist, and must possess the attributes which it perceives manifested in his works : and, these points being certain, it declares that he is God to us ; that he is our Creator and Preserver ; that all his qualities, so far as it can discover, merit our profoundest respect and admiration ; and that, therefore, he is to man the highest and most legitimate object of veneration and worship.

It has been objected, that although Causality may discover that God has existed, it sees no evidence that he now exists. The answer to this remark appears to me to be, that the manifestations of his power, wisdom, and goodness,


continue to be presented to Causality every moment, and that it has no data for concluding that the cause of them has ceased, while their effects remain monuments of his being. The organ is regarded as established.


the external world and the human mind, having emanated from the same Creator, should be found wisely adapted to each other ; and this accordingly appears, in an eminent degree, to be the case. If the reader will direct his attention to any natural or artificial object, and consider, 1st, its existence ; 2d, its form ; 3d, its size ; 4th, its weight ; 5th, its locality, or position in space ; 6th, the number of its parts ; 7th, the order or physical arrangement of its parts ; 8th, the changes which it undergoes ; 9th, the periods of time within which these take place ; 10th, the analogies and differences between the object under consideration and other objects; 11th, the effects which it produces ; and, lastly, if he will designate the assemblage of ideas thus acquired by a name-he will find that he has obtained a tolerably complete notion of the object of his contemplation, and is able to express it.

This order should be followed in teaching the sciences. Botany and Mineralogy are rendered intolerably tedious and uninteresting to many persons, who really possess sufficient natural talents for studying them, in consequence of names and classifications being erroneously taught as the chief objects to be attained. A better method would be, to make the pupil acquainted with his own mental powers, and to furnish him with experimental knowledge that these stand in definite relations to external objects, and feel a positive pleasure in contemplating them. His attention should then be directed to the existence of the object, as in itself interesting to Indi-


viduality ; to its form, as interesting to the faculty of Form ; to its colour, as pleasing to the faculty of Colouring ; and so forth with its other qualities : while the name, order, genus, and species, should be taught, in the last place, as designative merely of the qualities and relationship of the objects with which he has become conversant. Practice in this mode of tuition will establish its advantages. The mind which, un-exercised, regards all forms, not extravagantly ugly or beautiful, with indifference, will soon experience delight in discriminating minute degrees of elegance and expression ; and a similar effect will follow the cultivation of the other powers. The larger the organs, the greater will be the delight experienced in study ; but even with a moderate development much may be attained. Nor is it necessary to resort to schools and colleges for this exercise of the intellect. Objects in nature and art calculated to stimulate our faculties everywhere abound ; and if the reader, as he walks in the town or country, will actively apply his various powers in the manner now pointed out, he will find innumerable sources of pleasure within his reach, although he should not know scientific names and classifications.

I am indebted to my excellent friend Mr Gustav von Struve of Mannheim, for the following remarks :-

"Eventuality conceives the occurrences of life in their connection with Time, Causality in their connection with Causation. Eventuality is therefore with regard to time what Causality is with regard to cause and effect, and motive and sequel.

" Synthesis (comparison) is to the reflecting faculties what synchronous history is to the knowing faculties, when applied to occurrences ; chronological history is to the latter what analysis is to the former. As analysis in chemistry resolves a body into its constituent elements, so in an inquiry into the cause of an effect, or into the motive of a sequel, analysis resolves an event into its elements.

" A body is subject to the physical laws, which rule in space ; an event., to those which govern time.


" Whilst, therefore, the constituent parts of a body co-exist (in space), the constituent elements of an event follow each other (in time). Our senses make us directly acquainted with the constituent parts of a body, but we cannot by means of these directly perceive the constituent elements of events. These we discern only intellectually by means of our Causality ; and we discern them only by discovering that one event is the parent of the other, while it again, in its turn, may be the offspring of a third (still more remote), and so on without end.

{! To draw conclusions is nothing else but to prove these (affinitive) relations. In so far as conclusions relate to the physical world, we call the parents causes, and the offspring effects ; in so far as they relate to time, we call the parents motives, and the offspring sequels"1

1 Der Thatsachensinn fasst die Erscheinungen des Lebens auf in ihrem zeitlichen Zusammenhange, das Schluss-Vermögen in ihrem Causal-Zusammenhange. Der Thatsachensinn ist daher in zeitlicher Beziehung, was das Schlussvermögen in Beziehung auf Ursache und Wirkung, Grund und Folge ist.-Was für das Erkenntniss-Vermögen in seiner Richtung auf Zeit die synchronistische Geschichte, das ist für das Denkvermögen die Synthese (die Vergleichung) ; was für jenes die chronologische Geschichte, ist für dieses die Analyse. Wie die Analyse in der Chemie einen Körper in seine Grundbestandtheile zerlegt, so zerlegt sie in der Forschung nach der Ursache der Wirkung, oder nach dem Grunde der Folge eine Begebenheit in die ihrigen,-Ein Körper folgt den Gesetzen des Baumes, eine Thatsache denjenigen der Zeit.-Während daher die bestandtheile eines Körpers neben einander bestehen, folgen die Grundbestandtheile der Begebenheit auf einander. Die Bestandtheile der Körperwelt zeigen uns unmittelbar unsere Sinne, die Bestandtheile der Begebenheiten können wir durch sie nicht unmittelbar wahrnehmen; - diese können wir nur geistig, nur vermittelst unseres Schlussvermögens, -nur dadurch erkennen, dass wir ausmitteln, eine Thatsache sei die Mutter der ändern, wenn sie auch selbst wieder die Tochter einer dritten ist, und sofort ins Unendliche.-Schliessen ist nichts anderes, als dieses Verwandtschafts-Verhältniss nachweisen. Insofern die Schlüsse sich beziehen auf die Körperwelt, heissen die Eltern Ursachen, und die Kinder Wirkungen ; insofern sie sich beziehen auf die Zeit, heissen die Eltern Gründe, die Kinder Folgen.


Vol. 1: [front matter], Intro, Nervous system, Principles of Phrenology, Anatomy of the brain, Division of the faculties 1.Amativeness 2.Philoprogenitiveness 3.Concentrativeness 4.Adhesiveness 5.Combativeness 6.Destructiveness, Alimentiveness, Love of Life 7.Secretiveness 8.Acquisitiveness 9.Constructiveness 10.Self-Esteem 11.Love of Approbation 12.Cautiousness 13.Benevolence 14.Veneration 15.Firmness 16.Conscientiousness 17.Hope 18.Wonder 19.Ideality 20.Wit or Mirthfulness 21.Imitation.
Vol. 2: [front matter], external senses, 22.Individuality 23.Form 24.Size 25.Weight 26.Colouring 27.Locality 28.Number 29.Order 30.Eventuality 31.Time 32.Tune 33.Language 34.Comparison, General observations on the Perceptive Faculties, 35.Causality, Modes of actions of the faculties, National character & development of brain, On the importance of including development of brain as an element in statistical inquiries, Into the manifestations of the animal, moral, and intellectual faculties of man, Statistics of Insanity, Statistics of Crime, Comparative phrenology, Mesmeric phrenology, Objections to phrenology considered, Materialism, Effects of injuries of the brain, Conclusion, Appendices: No. I, II, III, IV, V, [Index], [Works of Combe].

Back to home page

© John van Wyhe 1999-2011. Materials on this website may not be reproduced without permission except for use in teaching or non-published presentations, papers/theses.