In the late 1810s and 1820s the Edinburgh phrenologists were largely concerned with trying to establish phrenology as the true science of mind. They challenged the accepted theories about the nature of mind and the brain; in turn, phrenology was attacked by the proponents of Scottish common-sense philosophy and by some medical men. The ensuing debate, which is discussed as an example of conflict between incommensurable world-views, involved a wide range of contentious theological, philosophical, scientific and methodological issues.
While many aspects of Shapin's historical thesis are accepted, this paper raises objections to specific parts of his historical account, and also to the historiographical assumptions underlying his sociological programme. In particular, Shapin's claim to have explained the Edinburgh phrenology debate in social terms is analysed and rejected.
Berkeley's "new theory of vision" and, In particular, His sensationalist solution to the problem of judging distance and magnitude were discussed by many eighteenth-Century authors who faced a variety of problem situations. More specifically, Berkeley's theory fed into the debate over whether the phenomena of vision were susceptible to mathematical analysis or were experientially determined. In this paper a variety of responses to berkeley are examined, Concluding with thomas reid's attempt to distinguish physical optics (which can be analyzed geometrically) from (...) the psychology of vision (in which experience plays a major role). (shrink)