Phrenological knowledge and the social structure of early nineteenth-century Edinburgh

Annals of Science 32 (3):219-243 (1975)
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This account of the conflict between phrenologists and anti-phrenologists in early nineteenth-century Edinburgh is offered as a case study in the sociological explanation of intellectual activity. The historiographical value and propriety of a sociological approach to ideas is defended against accounts which assume the autonomy of knowledge. By attending to the social context of the debate and the functions of ideas in that context one may construct an explanation of why the conflict took the course it did



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