Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830-1890

By Jenny Taylor; Sally Shuttleworth | Go to book overview

2. Concepts of Descent and Degeneration

COMPARISON OF THE MENTAl POWERS OF MAN AND ANIMAlS

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex ( 1871), 2nd edn. ( london: John Murray, 1883), 67- 8, 71, 75.

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection ( 1859) did not explicitly deal with the human species, though Darwin concluded by suggesting that it would 'throw light' on 'the origin of man and his history'. By the time he came to prepare The Descent of Man, many of the arguments about the interconnection of species had been accepted by naturalists, and here Darwin aimed 'to see how far the general conclusions arrived at in my former works were applicable to man'. Its aims, he stated in the Introduction, were to consider, first, 'whether man, like every other species, is descended from some other pre-existing form; secondly, the manner of his development; and thirdly, the value of the differences between the socalled races of man' (p. 2). These extracts are from. chapter 3, and the discussion of Spencer's ideas with which Darwin opens refers to the account of 'organic memory' in the 1870 edition of The Principles of Psychology. (See section II. 4 above.)

Although the first dawnings of intelligence, according to Mr. Herbert Spencer,* have been developed through the multiplication and co-ordination of reflex actions, and although many of the simpler instincts graduate into reflex actions, and can hardly be distinguished from them, as in the case of young animals sucking, yet the more complex instincts seem to have originated independently of intelligence. I am, however, very far from wishing to deny that instinctive actions may lose their fixed and untaught character, and be replaced

____________________
*
'The Principles of Psychology', 2nd edit. 1870, pp. 418-443.

-303-

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Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830-1890
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xiii
  • List of Illustrations xix
  • Section I Reading the Mind 1
  • 1. Physiognomy 8
  • 2. Phrenology 25
  • 3. Mesmerism 49
  • Section II The Unconscious Mind and the Workings of Memory 65
  • 1. Associationism and Physiological Psychology 73
  • 2. Dreams 102
  • 3. Double Consciousness 123
  • 4. Memory 141
  • Section III The Sexual Body 163
  • 1. Defining Womanhood 169
  • 2. the Uterine Economy 184
  • 3. Masculinity and the Control of Sexuality 209
  • Section IV Insanity and Nervous Disorders 225
  • 1. Moral Management and the Rise of the Psychiatrist 231
  • Section V Heredity, Degeneration, and Modern Life 285
  • 1. Nervous Economies: Morbidity and Modernity 293
  • 2. Concepts of Descent and Degeneration 303
  • 3. Inherited Legacies: Idiocy and Criminality 322
  • 4. Childhood 335
  • 5. Race and Hybridity 352
  • 6 Sex in Mind and Education 373
  • Notes on Authors 389
  • Select Bibliography 413
  • Index 423
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