The Constitution of Man

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The Constitution of Man is the classical exposition of phrenology, written by George Combe and published in 1828. The Constitution bridged the early anatomical science of the nineteenth century with evolutionary concepts. Its central argument is that the laws of the physical universe are as active in the human brain - and therefore in the mind (because of its role as a process of the brain) - as in the external, "physical" universe. Human behaviour is, therefore, usefully comprehended in neurological - rather than religious or philosophical - terms.[1]

The book was an international bestseller, exerting enormous influence among educated and scientifically minded people in the 1830s and 1840s. In 1844, the same audience was targeted - and enchanted - by the rather unorthodox Edinburgh phrenologist Robert Chambers with his Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation which - with its historical and evolutionary perspectives - did much to prepare the public for Darwin's On The Origin of Species in 1859. The Constitution of Man sold extremely well, with 300,000 copies purchased by 1859.[2]