Phrenology, heredity and progress in George Combe's Constitution of Man


Abstract
TheConstitution of Manby George Combe was probably the most influential phrenological work of the nineteenth century. It not only offered an exposition of the phrenological theory of the mind, but also presented Combe's vision of universal human progress through the inheritance of acquired mental attributes. In the decades before the publication of Darwin'sOrigin of Species, theConstitutionwas probably the single most important vehicle for the dissemination of naturalistic progressivism in the English-speaking world. Although there is a significant literature on the social and cultural context of phrenology, the role of heredity in Combe's thought has been less thoroughly explored, although both John van Wyhe and Victor L. Hilts have linked Combe's views on heredity with the transformist theories of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. In this paper I examine the origin, nature and significance of his ideas and argue that Combe's hereditarianism was not directly related to Lamarckian transformism but formed part of a wider discourse on heredity in the early nineteenth century.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s0007087415000278
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 42,993
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Ideas of Heredity, Reproduction and Eugenics in Britain, 1800–1875.John C. Waller - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (3):457-489.
Edinburgh Lamarckians: Robert Jameson and Robert E. Grant.James A. Secord - 1991 - Journal of the History of Biology 24 (1):1 - 18.
Forging Heredity: From Metaphor to Cause, a Reification Story.Carlos López-Beltrán - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (2):211-235.
Ideas of Heredity, Reproduction and Eugenics in Britain, 1800–1875.John C. Waller - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 32 (3):457-489.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

William Benjamin Carpenter and the Emerging Science of Heredity.John Lidwell-Durnin - forthcoming - Journal of the History of Biology:1-23.
Science and Self-Assessment: Phrenological Charts 1840–1940.Fenneke Sysling - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Science 51 (2):261-280.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Phrenology: The Provocation of Progress.Roger J. Cooter - 1976 - History of Science 14 (4):211-234.
The Present Position in Psychology.James Drever - 1932 - Philosophy 7 (27):311 - 319.
George Combe and Common Sense.Sean Dyde - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Science 48 (2):233-259.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-06-30

Total views
12 ( #639,595 of 2,259,536 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #77,835 of 2,259,536 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature