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The Study of the Human Mind from a Physiological View

  • Samuel Wilks (a1)

The scientific method of studying the phenomena of the human mind by founding it on a physiological basis, and thereby tracing the cerebral functions through the lower animals and uncultivated man, according to the plans adopted in other physiological investigations, must necessarily tend to modify or even change much that is contained in our received systems of psychology. In the hands of such men as Darwin and Huxley, the comparative method, when worked out in all its truthfulness, must necessarily bear good fruit, and be unaffected by any of the bias which the purely metaphysical method of the schools is apt to give to the investigation. The objection that it is degrading to compare the human being with the lower animals, or to take mankind in the mass, is of no value to the scientific investigator, who is merely seeking after truth, and knows that no researches of his can in any way affect man's history in the past or for the present; although they may afford many explanations of human conduct.

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* The grand idea pervading the scientific mind is the association or actual correlation of all the forces in nature, and that the same unalterable laws are in operation in the earth, and all that therein is. When Tyndall, in his admirable lecture, asserted this, it was naturally opposed by those who had other notions of terrestrial operations. This must be the case, when, for example, a distinguished divine can speak of a person's death as the result of Sin (meaning the devil), and afterwards speak of coal as having been given us by Providence (meaning God); asserting. that an Evil Spirit causes decay of the animal, and a Good Spirit decay of the plant.

* I know a young lady who takes the flowers of the heartsease, and finds in them, according to the markings on the petals, different expressions of faces. These are pasted in an album, and then the body of a gentleman or lady in different attitudes is drawn to complete the figure—the face, of course, suggesting the remainder.

* I believe Dr. Maudsley has also expressed this opinion.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0368-315X
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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The Study of the Human Mind from a Physiological View

  • Samuel Wilks (a1)
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