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Common sense and phrenology

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Generally speaking, my PhD thesis concerns how by the middle of the nineteenth century the British medical community had come to regard the mind as nothing more than ‘brain juice’, yet still managed to evade accusations of materialism and atheism that they frequently levelled at the French. In this chapter, I have examined a debate surrounding phrenology and a particular group of philosophers – the common sense school – in the hope to show that the cause of materialism was helped by a confusion inherent within the philosophical camp.

This talk is part of the HPS History Workshop series.

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