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Gall
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Franz Joseph Gall

(1758-1828)

Biography  The essentials of Gall's doctrine

Biography

Gall was born in Tiefenbrunn (southwest Germany) in 1758. He began his study of medicine in Strasbourg in 1777, continued and finished his study in Vienna (1781-1785). In Vienna, he worked as neuroanatomist and as a practicing physician. There he developed his basic ideas concerning the relation between psychological faculties and the brain. He called his doctrine Organology?or Schedellehre? He wrote down his ideas in a letter to Retzer (1798). It is remarkable that Gall never modified his doctrine as outlined in this letter. In his later works, he only presented more data material, trying to adduce more evidence for his views. Galls doctrine became popular among the higher social classes of Vienna. Nevertheless, the propagation of his ideas in Vienna came to a sudden halt in 1801 by a decree of the Holy Roman Emperor Franz II, which in trun was issued under pressure exerted by the church. Galls views were banned by the church as materialistic?and thus politically dangerous.

In 1805 he left Vienna and made a tour through several Middle European countries, where his lectures were always a success. In 1807, Gall settled in Paris. Although Gall was exposed to extreme hostility from the leading political powers in Paris, he was at least not forbidden to give private lessons. Furthermore, his doctrine quickly became as fashionable there as it had been in Vienna, especially among the women of the upper classes. Thus, Gall was successful in social and financial respects; nevertheless, he remained a scientific outsider, banned from the official scientific institutions. Two attempts (1808 and 1821) to gain admission to the Academie failed. In Paris, Gall wrote his most comprehensive works:

- Anatomie et physiologie du systeme nerveux en general, et du cerveau en particulier, avec des observations sur la possibilite de reconnaitre plusieurs dispositions intellectuelles et morales de lhomme et des animaux, par la configuration de leur tetes. 4 vols. Paris 1810-1819.

- Sur les functions du cerveau et sur celles de chacune de ses parties. 6 vols. Paris 1822-1825.

The first two volumes of the Anatomie were written together with his pupil Spurzheim. In 1813, they went their different ways and Spurzheim went to England, where he made Galls doctrine popular under the name phrenology? From England, phrenology was carried to the USA, Where it really began flower. Gall remained in Paris, where he died in 1828 as a result of a stroke. Needless to say, he bequeathed his own skull to his pupils, who added it to his large collection of specimens. We can still see it in the Musee de lHomme as number 19216. 

The essentials of Gall’s doctrine

1.  The human mind has its seat in the brain.

2.  The human mind can be divided into several individual

components so that different components have different localizations

in the brain.

3.  The seats of the mental components are in the corets; Gall speaks

   of cortical organs.

4.  The organs are autonomous and completely independent of each other

   in the sense that one given organ can work without any interaction with

   another component.

5.  The faculties are characterized by the content to which they are related;

   they cannot be characterized by the formal features of the mode of

   their operations. Thus, general reasoning and memory etc. do not rank

   among the localizable faculties, while for instance, music, langauge,

   murderous instinct, veneration of God are localizable.

      Fodor (1983) refers to the general content-unspecific faculties such

   as reasoning as “central processes” and terms a division of the mind

   into such central processes a “horizontal” division. Opposed to this,   

   Gall’s components of the mind are domain-specific, and his division of

   the mind is termed by Fodor “vertical”.

6.  All faculties are innate.

7.  A particularly well developed faculty requires an expecially well

   developed cortical organ: the organ must be comparatively “big”.

8.  Points (6) and (7) taken together lead to the conclusion that the 

   particularly well developed organs should leave their traces in the

   formation of the skull because the infantile skull is still very malleable.

   Thus, a particularly weel developed cortical organ can be “seen” as a  

   bump on the skull. Conversely, somebody with a particulary poorly

   developed faculty or propensity may have a depression on the skull

   over the corresponding cortical organ. Therefore, palpation of the skull

   of a given individual can serve as a diagnostic means for the

   individual’s specific gifts and personality features.

9.  The faculties which are candidates for localization in the cortes cannot

   be enumerated on the basis of a preestablished psycho-philogophical

   system, but only by empirical research. This enforces the following

   research methodology: Gall had to look for people with very one-sided

   talents, for instance people who showed only one extremely well

   developed faculty. If these people had an unusual bumpt at a given

   place on the skull, then it could be inferred that the cortical organ

   beneath that bump is the seat of the faculty at issue. As a consequence,

   Gall was looking for people in the extremes of society: geniuses,

   criminals with one outstandingly well developed propensity, and the

   socalled monomaniacs, that is, those lunatics who are obsessed by only

   one particular fixation.

 

 


 

 
 

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上次修改日期: 2000年06月12日