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The Revival of Phrenology The Mental Functions of the Brain

Nature volume 68, page 268 (23 July 1903) | Download Citation



ACCORDING to Dr. Hollander, the connection between *mind and brain has long been waiting for a discoverer, and he is determined that it shall wait no longer. “The present work aims at clearing up the mystery of the fundamental psychical functions and their localisation in the brain. It is the first work on the subject since the dawn of modern scientific research.” We expect that an author who claims to clear up a mystery and to write the first work on a subject since the dawn of scientific research should at least be acquainted with the present position of the science with which he deals, but we do mot find that Dr. Hollander has satisfied this preliminary requirement. The very title of his book indicates that he is not before, but behind the age. Mental phenomena are not functions of the brain in the modern medical meaning of the term “function,”and if by “the fundamental psychical functions”Dr. Hollander means the primary divisions of mind as recognised in modern psychology, then we cannot find evidence in his book that he knows what they are. “Most men,”he says, “regard mind as though the term were equivalent to intellect and did not include the feelings and fundamental impulses.” “The great majority hold mind to be equivalent to intellect."We do not know whether by “most men1' and “the great majority”Dr. Hollander means the majority of the whole population, or of the whole male population, or of neurologists, or of psychologists. If he means either of the two former, he is probably wrong. If he means either of the two latter, he is certainly wrong; so wrong that it is difficult to believe that he has opened a book on psychology that has been published within the last half-century. When a writer presumes to lecture the whole world of psychologists in the tone of the Supreme Being addressing a group of blackbeetles, he should at least make himself acquainted with the rudiments of their terminology. He would then avoid speaking of “faculties” as “forces.”He would not say that “satisfaction, discontent, desire, fear, anger . . . &c, are so many states of our internal organisation which . . . exist . . . without consciousness . . . being necessary.”

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