Animal Spirits
The term ‘animal spirits’ refers to the 18th century idea that people’s attitudes, their day-to-day dispositions and moods, were affected by the fluids in their bodies. As William and John Sutton write, "animal spirits" were "believed" "to govern not only sensation, but also memory, imagination, belief, passion and health. ” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the obsolete definition of animal spirits is "the principle of sensation and voluntary motion; answering to nerve fluid, nerve force, nervous action." In other words, it was thought that animal spirits controlled almost everything that people said, did, and felt.

Mo Costandi explains that by the 1700s, the idea behind animal spirits had pervaded physiological theory for nearly a millennium . Yet, while this all-encompassing term for unidentified bodily fluid (lymph, spinal fluid, etc.) was first promoted in 3rd century BC Alexandria, it came into common knowledge via Claudius Galen, a Roman physician. Galen treated animal spirits as Hippocrates had treated The Four Humours-- fluids whose excess or shortage caused different moods. This permeated medical practice until the latter part of the 18th century .

In The Nature of The Nervous Fluid, or Animal Spirits, Demonstrated (1751), Malcolym Flemyng claims, for example, that "the nervous fluid or animal spirits, consists of phlegm or water, oil, animal salt, and earth, all highly attenuated and subtilized, and incorporated together" (24). These types of matter or "animal solids" come from the earth itself and are a crucial component of what Flemyng terms "nervous fluid" (11). Though nervous fluid provides the necessary and continuous volition to the muscles, Flemyng is unsure about what is in the fluid that allows for the muscles to contract and function and he labels it as "some subtle ether, fire or spirit," not unlike animal spirits (27).

René Descartes, Illustration from Traite de l'homme (1664)
As Flemyng demonstrates, "animal spirits" played an important role in early modern and eighteenth-century theories of the mind. Although John Locke states in his Treatise Concerning Human Understanding (1698) that he will not delve too deeply into the mechanics of how animal spirits move through the body, he does attempt to explain how “primary qualities” and animal spirits influence the formation of ideas (Locke 1.1.12). He claims that sensation varies depending on how and how much animal spirit is being moved throughout the body (Locke 2.8.4). Locke then observes that “original qualities”, information received by the senses, can result in ideas (Locke 1.1.12). Because of this observation, he concludes that the animal spirits must be present in the brain. This leads to Locke’s idea of tracing, as John W. Yolton has shown . The flow of animal spirits creates traces, or pathways, in the brain. The more times the spirits flow through a path, the deeper engraved the idea becomes; memory and habits result from the pathways that manage to maintain in the mind (Yolton 159-160).

Similarly, in A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), David Hume refers to animal spirits frequently. However, rather than defining the term animal spirits, he references them to prove larger points. For example, Hume is of the opinion that a difference exists between perception and object. Manipulation of nerves and animal spirits, he says, changes our perception of an object, but not the object in question. David Hume gives the example of pressing the eye with a finger, which makes us perceive that all objects become double. In reality, however, this is just a manipulation of the organ of perception, or eye. Says Hume, “all our perceptions are dependent on our organs, and the disposition of our nerves and animal spirits” (161). Later in the book, Hume tries to distinguish between our impressions of reflection and impressions of sensation. He says that the latter arise from a number of factors, including “animal spirits, or from the application of objects to the external organs” (203).

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Bedlam (Bethlem Royal Hospital)
W. H. Prior, "The Hospital of Bethlem," (c. 1750)
Bedlam, also known as Bethlem Royal Hospital, was the foremost English psychiatric hospital of the early 18th century. In modern times, however, the word Bedlam now means “a scene or state of wild uproar and confusion,"” which stems from the “mad-house” reputation of the original Bethlem Royal Hospital. Upon it’s opening in 1676, for example, Bedlam’s staff often gave tours through the facility, and the visitors would often mock the patients. Even after the Madhouse Acts of 1774 were passed in an attempt to improve the care of the mentally ill, Bedlam still engaged in dubious policies regarding their patients. For instance, Bedlam introduced the idea of giving every patient a job within the hospital, including allowing the male patients to watch over the female patients, which lead to many reports of abuse.

Additionally, Bedlam, while the foremost English hospital for the insane, was ruled by the early psychological methods and treatment practices of the 18th century, which included poor diets of bread and water, purging, vomiting and bleeding. Such actions were attempts to “flush” the illness out of the patients. Norah Vincent, who spent a brief amount of time in Bedlam, described Bedlam’s treatments as "cold if not cruel," and also discovered that many of the doctors neglected to treat patients altogether. As Lucy Inglis notes, in the early 19th century, other predominate hospitals began to put new psychological methods into practice and Bedlam, which kept the older methods, quickly became “the worst example of psychiatric care.” During this time, the main doctors at Bedlam, most of whom were part of the Monro family, were called “mad-doctors” after the patients they treated.

George Arnald, "William Norris...In Bedlam" (1814-1815)
George Arnald, "William Norris...In Bedlam" (1814-1815)
There are many accounts of patients who stayed at Bedlam. As the Town and Country Magazine illustrates, Margaret Nicholson, a servant who tried to assassinate King George III because she thought she was the rightful heir to the throne, was sent to Bedlam after she was convicted. Denis Donoghue reports that Nathaniel Lee, the Restoration dramatist, spent four years at Bedlam in the late 17th century. Lee famously remarked that “They said I was mad; and I said they were mad: damn them, they outvoted me.” As Lee's quote suggests, many patients seemed to have been confined for arbitrary reasons. Reverend John Wesley related the account of one such patient, Mrs. G. of Northampton, as told to him by one of his parishioners. Mrs. G. was sent to Bedlam after accusing her husband of an affair, even though there was no sign of a mental affliction (Wesley 10). Similarly, Alexander Cruden , an evangelical scholar best known for composing a concordance to the entire Bible, was confined at Bedlam for his enthusiastic religious beliefs (Cruden 29-30).

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Cintio d'Amato, "Bloodletting Scene" (1671)
Bloodletting, also called phlebotomy, was a commonly-practiced medical procedure where quantities of blood were removed from physically/mentally ill patients. According to Douglass Star, this practice was popular for about 3,000 years, first performed by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. For thousands of years the theory of illness was that it was deeply entwined with spiritual significance and was caused by metaphysical means; thus priests and physicians bled their patients to expel supposed demons and excess animal spirits that caused illness. The theory behind this procedure coincides with the notion of animal spirits where 'spirits' flow throughout the nervous system and excess can cause mental disruption and mania. Bloodletting was thought to alleviate pressure in this system and reduce the spirits to a calm equilibrium.

After the twelfth century, the church disapproved of its clergy bleeding patients, and physicians were at a great risk for punishment, including execution, for malpractice. It was then that barbers adopted a duel profession as both hair-cutter and surgeon; the red and white barber pole signified a barber who was also a surgeon. For several hundred years barbers performed bloodletting, amputations, and other procedures for patients until surgery was brought into a respectable light in the 1500s and physicians reclaimed the practice,
Thumb Lancet Used for Bloodletting
Thumb Lancet Used for Bloodletting

Several tools and methods were developed to effectively carry out bloodletting. Leeches were used since the ancient beginnings of bloodletting. A lancet was a small switch knife used to puncture a vein and was the most common tool besides leeches. A fleam was another bladed tool, as well as a spring lancet and multi-bladed scarificator. Lettings were collected in bloodletting cups or bowls.

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The corpuscular hypothesis which was proposed by the 17th century scientist Robert Boyle (1627-1691), held that all observable matter and phenomena are in fact entirely the result of the existence and interactions of microscopic particles or corpuscles [1]. These corpuscles, in turn, are minute extended substances which are solid and indivisible and have several fundamental primary qualities. These qualities include shape or form, location, size, and motion or rest [2]. When combined together, collections of corpuscles gain the qualities of number and texture – the specific arrangement of the constituent corpuscles. All observable phenomena, consequently, were due to changes in the texture of corpuscles caused by impacts. This mechanical theory of bodies was in direct contradiction with the popular 17th century Aristotelian-Scholastic theory of four elements and the Cartesian theory of infinitely divisible matter, but would eventually lead the way to the development of modern atomic science. John Locke used the ideas contained in Boyle’s corpuscular hypothesis to defend his distinction of the primary and secondary qualities of bodies. Locke asserted that bodies have certain primary qualities, as discussed above, which produce in our minds ideas of secondary qualities. These secondary qualities include color, sound, smell, taste and texture, etc. Our knowledge of reality, suggested Locke, was entirely based on our observation of these secondary qualities [3]. To support this theory, Locke put forward Boyle’s corpuscular theory. Although Locke admitted that more powerful microscopes might one day tell us more about the primary qualities of corpuscles, he was also strongly convinced that we would never be able to know why primary qualities necessarily give rise to the secondary qualities we observe. This is a problem that still faces modern scientists and is known as the problem of qualia.


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Descartes is famous for his theories in regards to the mind or soul and its interaction with the body. He theorized that the soul was not bounded by the laws of physics and that the soul used the body as a mechanical mechanism to exist in this world. After mind mapping became common and different philosophies took root, many people began to argue that our mind is only the brain, defined by a sequence of neurons firing in specific patterns. Taking into respect the fascinating advancements that have been made in neuroscience, many modern and historical scientists have come to believe in a consciousness that exists separate from the brain. For example Wilder Penfield (a neurosurgeon mentioned in Carter's book) performed several experiments where he used electrical currents to stimulate action in his human subjects. In every example the subjects professed that they did not perform the movement but that Penfield had. No matter where he applied current on the cerebral cortex, he could not stimulate the patients to believe or decide anything. Penfield's work led him to accept the notion that human DecartianDualism.jpgconsciousness is separate from the brain. Many patients who have been temporarily brain dead admit to having visions or thoughts during the "death". This can not be explained by just matter interaction, as in many cases the state of the persons brain does not allow for thought or the creation of memories as a result of lack of oxygen or other damage. In a specific example a women noted a rising sensation and claimed to have seen a shoe on the roof of a hospital before she was revived by the doctors (the described shoe was in fact on the roof). If the assertion of Dualism is true, then the brain is the tool used by the mind to manipulate the body and exist in this world. Damage done to the brain does not necessarily affect the mind itself, but rather how the mind is able to interact with the world. Most religions label the human consciousness as a soul, a separate entity from the body that will in many cases survive after death. In
Mapping The Mind, Carter notes an experiment in which religious experiences were induced by an electric stimulus. If Christianity is genuine, then the area of the brain that was stimulated could be an area designed for interaction with God or a higher power; as stated, doctors were able to create a false impression of God in the patients. This interaction likely differs from a true religious experience because its source is the brain; on the other hand, it is possible that the communing of the soul and God is expressed in this area of the brain. While Descartes' theory do go be off in some areas, he suggested that the soul communicates with the brain in one particular area called the pineal gland, but modern science suggests that consciousness involves the whole brain and can not be traced to such a small source. despite his fallacies in some areas, his philopshy is still the defining word on the subject. Philosopher Stuart C. Hacket expands on Descartes' most notable point and state "I think there for I am, I think therefore God is".

The Case For a Creator, Lee Strobel, Zondervan copy right 2004

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Electricity (n.)
Electricity, in the 1700s, was used for medical applications, as the treatment for various diseases and ailments. It was also researched by many physicists and scientists during this time and much about it was discovered. It was rumored to cure most if not all diseases and rarely had difficulty removing it entirely; even the most gentle electrical applications were effective . Electrical treatment was also important for neural disorders, with vibrations directed along the spine, alleviating the depression of spirits. It was also used to depress palsy and spasmodic episodes (Observations). These treatments were rooted in the belief that there existed some "life force" that could be manipulated in the animal and in the human body. Used in conjunction with magnetism, this “animal fluid” would cause a vibration of the nerves and put [the patient] in a convulsion. Also, it was disputed that these applications could have no adverse effect on bad moral character; this was something electricity could not cure.Richard Lovett refers to this electrical spirit as animal mundi ("soul of the world"), an ethereal source responsible for the animation, motion and function of the human and animal body. Experiments with electrical current showed a correlation between the origin of the shock and the areas that showed response, therefore, 18th century philosophers and scientists thrived to determine what was reacting in the body.

Who researched it
Luigi Galvani
Luigi Galvani is best known for his work with frog legs in the late 1770s. Galvani found that dissected legs of frogs jump to life through different experiments done on them involving electricity. Through these different experiments, Galvani was able to deduce there was a certain type of electrical fluid which he termed as "animal electricity" meaning that the nervous system delivered electricity to different muscles and other body parts. He published his results in the early 1790s in “De Viribus Electricitatis in motu musculari commentarius” (“Commentary on the Effect of Electricity on Muscular Motion”).

Alessandro Volta
After Galvani published his results, he had many opponents on his conclusion. This most notable being Alessandro Volta, a professor at the University of Pavia at the time. Volta challenged Galvani by saying that it was not electricity in the body of the frog that caused the leg to twitch but it was the fact that a charge traveled through two dissimilar metal plates which caused the twitch. Volta described this as the "metallic electricity," theory.

Alexander Monro (1733-1817)
Anatomist Monro had special interest in the nervous system, as well the comparison of animal body systems to that of humans. His paper," Experiments on the Nervous System with Opium and Metalline Substances, to determine the Nature and Effects of Animal Electricity", led him to conclude that nerve force was not the same thing as electricity.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin did many experiments in which he learned a lot about electricity. He was the first person to lable electricity with positive and negative charge and with his famous kite flying experiment was able to prove that lighting was indeed electricity. He also was the first person to explain how electrostatic induction worked.

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb
Charles Coulomb was the first person to show that opposite charges attract each other. He dealt with much of the physics and the forces that cause electricty. His name is now the name of the SI unit for charge, the Coulomb.

Stephen Gray
Stephen Gray what a scientist who helped discover the differences between insulators and conductors. He conducted experiments in which he transfered an electric charge over very long distances. He also helped discover that an electric charge can move from one kind of material to another.


CAVALLO, T. (1780), An Essay on the Theory and Practice of Medical Electricity, London, 1780.

Hubert-François Gravelot: Die Elektrisierte, um 1750. Public Domain

Relevant Texts
Electricity, or Etherial Fire by T. Gale (1802)

The Electrical Philosopher by R. Lovett (1774)


"Observations on medical electricity, Containing a synopsis of all the diseases in which electricity has been recommended or
applied with success; likewise, pointing out a new and more efficacious method of applying this remedy, by electric vibrations. By
Francis Lowndes, medical electrician." London, M.DCC.LXXXVII. [1787]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. 1 March 2010

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In the 18th century a breakthrough of revolutionary thinking took root into the fabric of society. This new age thinking was a drastic change from the precedent philosophies of Socrates, Plato, and Descartes. These philosophers founded the notion of the brain being a completely separate part of the body.(1) That is, the body and mind are essentially bridged through our perceptions but the mind is essentially connected to something other than this world that we perceive. Most of these philosophers were known as skeptics who even began to question whether or not the brain actually perceived the world correctly. In order to explain the inability to ever know true existence, Descartes argued that the human brain had a fundamental center that held innate, and unexplainable knowledge, now commonly known as Cartesian Dualism.(1) Locke, on the other hand, is credited with changing the opinions of the world to favor a newer philosophy known as empiricism.

Empiricism is easily defined as knowledge and ideas are constructed only through experience and reflection on those experiences (Myers 2004). According to this method of philosophy, the human mind is made simply of matter that has the profound ability to exploit, combine, and even distort perceptions into new ideas. Locke stated that the mind was simply a blank slate that we as human beings could continue to write towards the completion of by using reflection, perception and sensation(2). After Locke’s initial stands on empiricism were made known, other authors began writing on the different stances concerning such a new philosophy. David Hume followed in Locke’s footsteps, but had some major disagreements with Locke’s philosophy regarding “intuitive knowledge”(2). He believed that everything could not just be based essentially off of an experience or a cause, but it must be based off of results of a dispute of ideology. Hume wrote that truth was only found in “an argument among friends” (Myers 2004). With this substantial tweak to Locke’s beliefs, empiricism became a widespread belief system justifying modern science, and opening the world up to a new since of individuality. Many of the ideas found in the very core of empiricism support democratic constitutions, and inspire intellectuals around the world.

Myers, D. (2004). Psychology(7th ed.).Michigan: Hope College.
1)Hooker, Richard. H. (1996). Greek philosophy: aristotle. Retrieved from
Empiricism: the influence of francis bacon, john locke, and david hume. Informally published manuscript, Department of Psychology, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA. Retrieved from

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In present times, the most common connotation of the word enthusiasm is “a strong excitement of feeling; something inspiring zeal or fervor.”[1] However obvious this may seem to citizens of the 21st century, enthusiasm had quite a different connotation in the 18th century. Although similar to the aforementioned definition, enthusiasm in the 1700s was a false passion for anything in religion or the arts or, more specifically, a form of religious fanaticism[1].

Enthusiasm in the arts
Enthusiasm in the arts commonly referred to muses; poets were said to be inspired by these so called “deities”[3] to write their artistic works. As written by the Earl of Shaftesbury in 1707, “It has been an establish’d Custom for Poets, at the entrance of their Work, to address themselves to some Muse: and this Practice of the Antients has gain’d so much Repute, that even in our days we find it almost constantly imitated.”[3]

Enthusiasm in religion
Enthusiasm was closely tied to God during the 18th century, sometimes stated as the opposite of atheism.[2] It was often looked upon as religious fanaticism, an overly passionate form of inspiration by religion.

Bickham, G. Enthusiasm display'd: or, the Moor-Fields Congregation
Bickham, G. Enthusiasm display'd: or, the Moor-Fields Congregation
In Hume’s Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, essay X (of superstition and Enthusiasm), both superstition and enthusiasm are considered false religion; fear and its results lead to superstition, while overzealousness could often lead to enthusiasm, a cause of religious wars and fighting during his time period.[4] Aforementioned writer the Earl of Shaftesbury related melancholy to “all enthusiasm”, suggesting that it may lead to “ridiculousness” and should be taken with a grain of salt.[3] “…formal Notions which grew up probably in an ill Mood, and have been conceiv’d in sober Sadness, are never to be remov’d but in a sober kind of Chearfulness, and by a more easy and pleasant way of Thought. There is a Melancholy which accompanys all Enthusiasm. Be it Love or Religion (for there are Enthusiasms in both) nothing can put a stop to the growing mischief of either, till the Melancholy be remov’d, and the Mind at liberty to hear what can be said against the Ridiculousness of an Extreme in either way.”[3]

So called “enthusiasts” tended to attempt to convert troubled, depressed men to their way of thinking; they encouraged the men to passionately admit and repent for their sins. They did not, however, impart a love or devotion to God, simply the idea that sins were gone. “And accordingly it is observed, by those very Persons who place the whole Work of Conversion in these
mechanical Passions that generally, after the Pangs of Regeneration are over, their Converts grow cold and careless, and remiss in Religion….that you would hardly believe that had ever been converted; which is a plain Evidence that this Sort of Conversion does not reach the Soul; that it does not alter our practical Judgment of Things, nor rationally determine our Wills to new Choices and Resolutions; and consequently, that it is nothing but a mere Train of Sensitive Passions mechanically excited by the Fancy…”[3]
Steps of conversion according to the enthusiast ran as follows:
1) “Fury of Despair” - Man is guilty of some sin, and experiences internal conflict about it.
2) “
CompunctionMan experiences “deep Melancholy” and “woeful Regrets” and “self-condemning Reflections”
3) “
Humiliation” - Man sees Jesus Christ as his personal savior and idolizes him. Man feels a combination of love for his Savior and sadness for his Savior because Man’s sins made his Savior sad. – Man is ashamed.
4) Man loves his forgiving, loving, Savior/Idol to the point of extreme joy and thus is “saved” and truly “converted”

As stated by the Earl of Shaftesbury, “True Religion is a State of a
fixed and constant Nature, that does not come and go…”[3]

Biographies of Enthusiasts (as claimed by John Scott in
A Fine Picture of Enthusiasm)
John Wesley (1703-1791)

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, John Wesley was born on June 17, 1703, in Epworth Rectory, Lincolnshire, England. He received his education from his mother, Susanna. He then attended Charterhouse School and Christ Church College, Oxford. He was ordained a deacon in 1725 and three years later became a priest. He became the leader of the Holy Club, which is now known as the Methodist Church. In 1735, he sailed for Georgia with his brother Charles. Wesley’s strict discipline and a failed love affair led him to return to England. On May 24, 1738, Wesley was converted after reading Luther’s writings which assured salvation through trust in Jesus. He began a system of lay preachers, which began to meet annually in 1744 and in 1784 he signed the Deed of Declaration and his movement took a more institutional form. He died on March 2, 1791, and Methodism had grown to about 120,000 members, after only fifty years. He is buried in the City Road Chapel cemetery.

George Whitefield (1714-1770)
According to Anglican, George Whitefield was born on December 16, 1714, in Gloucester, England. His father died a couple of years after he was born and when he was fifteen he convinced his mother to let him work at the inn his father to use to work for. He read the bible diligently at night after working all day. He later received his education at Pembroke College at Oxford and was drawn to the "Holy Club," where he met John and Charles Wesley. He converted in 1735 after reading "The Life of God in the Soul of Man" loaned to him by Charles. He finished his education after having to take a break because of health reasons. He was ordained in 1736 and within a year he was attracting masses with his amazing preaching talent. He was ordained under the Church of England and was a Calvinist. He travelled to America many times and inspired John and Charles to start the Methodist Church. He did about 10 sermons a week which averaged out to about 500 a year.

Connection between Religion & Madness

One of the main disorders of the eighteenth century, and one of the most “curable,” was that of Fanaticism. In other words, excessive religious fervor or enthusiasm, were considered to be madness. William Pargeter was one of the main proponents of this particular form of madness, and he focused mainly on the Methodist branch of the Christian church as perpetrators of fanaticism (1). Pargeter describes two cases in his writings where people were forced to stay in bed because of excessive fanaticism, but once the Methodists were kept away from them, they quickly regained their health (1). Alexander Cruden, on the other hand, was a patient at Bethlem Royal Hospital for several years because of his own fanaticism (2). Cruden prayed fervently, and organized a concordance for the entire Bible. Cruden wrote out against Bethlem, or Bedlam, and sought to rectify his own situation as well, as he did not consider himself to be insane (2).

1. Pargeter, William. Observations on Maniacal Disorders. 1792. Pp. 28-34.
2. Alexander Cruden, The Adventures of Alexander the Corrector, with an Account of the Chelsea Academics, or the Private Places for the Confinement of Such as are Supposed to be Deprived of the Exercise of Their Reason (London, for the author, 1754). Part 2, pp. 29-30.

[2]Scott, John. A Fine Picture of Enthusiasm .1744.
[3]Cooper, Anthony Ashley. A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm. 1707.
[4]Hume, David. Essays Moral, Political, and Literary . Essay X.

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Laws & Regulations of Madhouses
Madhouses in the 18th century were places of safety for the mentally deranged and citizens of their respected areas. If criminals were convicted of crimes that were considered only the act of a mentally unstable person and they didn't qualify for the Poor Laws of the time they were sent to the asylums. The Vagrancy Act of 1744 was a monumental act that granted permission to lock up lunatics (Hill). In 1963, Parliament did an investigation into the ways that different madhouses were regulated (Glover 4). The findings of Parliament was that the citizens of the asylums were treated poorly and without care(Glover 5). However, many of their attempts to provide legislation for these people were blocked passionately by members of Royal College of Physicians who had monetary motives for their disapproval (Glover 5). Shortly after the investigation, the Madhouse Act of 1774 was passed which protected the wealthy members that were in the asylums by making the houses have certain standards and maintenance(Glover 5). This act however did nothing for the treatment of the madhouse tenants as a whole, because this act was only extended to the wealthy members of the asylums (Glover 5). This act also was seen as a sort of do-good act, the legislation provided no ways of regulating houses that were not following the new laws and all madhouse requests for a licenses had to be approved(Glover 7).

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Leicester Lunatic Asylum
In the beginning of the 18th century, the belief that t
here were a certain group of people with certain mental conditions, which needed special protection. The confinement of lunatics in private madhouses led to the opening of a public institution. In 1837, the Leicester Lunatic Asylum in Rutland county opened up to patients (Orme). It was located on Victoria Road in Leicester. It started out with 104 patients; 52 of each sex. The institution was much smaller than it needed to be, and could not accommodate the necessary amount of people. It was also too small to meet the requirements of the district. Other institutions continued to open in the area, including Narborough, which was a capacity around 1000 patients. The Leicester Lunatic Asylum was finally closed in 1909 and all the patients were moved to nearby hospitals (Roberts). The asylum is now located on the University of Leicester property and is the administration building at the center of campus(University of Leicester).
"The finance and management of the Leicestershire Lunatic Asylum was shared between a joint visiting committee of representatives from the County and the Charity (The National Archives). The patients were divided into 4 classes based on the condition they were in. In class I, the patients were considered criminal or dangerous. In class II, the patients were very similar, but also contained paupers from other countries. In class III the patients were aided by charity and IV was for private patients (The National Archives.)

[1] Orme, Henry, William H. Brock. Leicestershire's Lunatics: The Institutional Care of Leicertershire's lunatics during the Nineteenth Century. <>.
[2] Roberts, Andrew. Index of English and Welsh Lunatic Asylums and Mental Hospitals."Leicestershire County Mental Hospital." <>.
[3] University of Leicester. <>.
[4] The National Archives. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office. <>.

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Luxury as a cause of madness
Many 18th century physicians and scholars wrote about the relative luxury of the era as being a root of some forms of madness. George Cheyne wrote about the increasing amount of cases of nervous disorders that he had seen as luxury encouraged laziness and the love of excess (1). Cheyne also held issue with certain aspects of luxury, namely the increases in the elaborate preparations of food. He argued that if animals were forced to eat unnatural food in unnatural amounts before they were slaughtered and prepared in elaborate and rich recipes, that the body that then ingested the animal must be in some way unnatural, which could increase the possibility of madness (1). Thomas Arnold named luxury, including “the various passions which attend the desire, pursuit and acquisition of riches” as one of the four main causes of insanity in the eighteenth century (2). William Pargeter held luxury as a sign of the weakness of man, and attributed failing health and the increasing laziness of society as the root cause of maniacal disorders (3). In another way, Urbane Metcalf decried luxury by pointing out that in Bethlam Royal Hospital, where he was once a patient, the keepers of the hospital were spoiled with luxury while the patients were left in squalor, which could not help their mental conditions at all (4). The increasing luxury and laziness of the eighteenth century seemed to worry the physicians and scholars of madness as it correlated with the increasing rise of madness, and therefore must be one of the main causes of madness.
1. Cheyne, George. The English Malady: Or, A Treatise of Nervouse Diseases of All Kinds, As Spleen, Vapours, Lowness of Spirits, Hypochondriacal and Hysterical Distempers, &c….With the Author’s own Case at large. 1733. Pp. 33-39.
2. Arnold, Thomas. Observations on the Nature, Kinds, Causes, and Prevention of Insanity. 1786. Pp. 14-25.
3. Pargeter, William. Observations on Maniacal Disorders. 1792. Pp. 28-34.
4. Metcalf, Urbane. The interior of Bethlehem Hospital… 1818. Pp. 1-16.

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Print made by Antonio Maria Zanetti II c.1760

According to
The British Journal of Psychiatry, the origins of Melancholy dates back to ancient Grecian Times. Hippocrates (ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC) was the father of all medicine and was the first formulate the idea of the four temperaments, or four humors, and that it was essential to have balance of these four liquids to maintain a so called normal personality. If one or two of these humors were in excess, the result was characterized by a mental disorder. The BJPsych also notes that humours described by Hippocrates are the blood from the liver, yellow bile from the gall bladder, phlegm from the lungs/brain, and black bile from the spleen. Each of these humors were associated with certain characteristics: blood with courageous, hopeful, amorous; yellow bile with easily angered, bad tempered; phlegm with calm, unemotional; and black bile with despondent, sleepless, irritable. According to Hippocrates, when these are in balance good health is maintained and a normal personality is present, but should these become unbalanced, physical or mental health will be abnormally points out that he idea of humors held great sway in the thought of the 18th century. Excess of black bile was held as one of the causes for melancholy. Melancholy was characterized by despair, sorrow, sluggishness, sadness, irritability, and similar temperaments. These such characteristics were associated with black bile as held by Hippocrates.

The symptoms of melancholy vary in different people. Physically, the excess of “extrementitious Humours...which are grown black by Mortification” is said to cause some disease of the “stomach, spleen, liver, or other parts.” The Spleen, which was associated with being the source of black bile, was the main source of melancholic symptoms. Of melancholy's mental effects Richard Baxter claims that “when it hath contracted that distemper and pravity by feculency, sluggishnes or adustion, which disposeth it to the melancholy effects.” Those diagnosed with Melancholy were thought to be idle and filled with sadness. In Modern times, we could characterize some of these symptoms to be depression from the “fright or by the Death of a Friend, or by some great Loss or Cross, or some sad tidings even in an Hour.” Those affected by melancholy are found to be “exceedingly fearful, causesly or beyond what there is cause for.” They thrive on “aggravating their sin, or dangers, or unhappiness.”
Electrical machine designed by John Wesley for the treatmentofmelancholia in the 18th century

Important People
Richard Baxter was a well known writer on the subject of Melancholy and a respected member of 17th Century society. He wrote many influential pieces of literature that carried into the 18th century. Regarding initially conceived treatments for melancholy Baxter suggests that “if you know any lawful thing that will please them in speech, in company, in apparel, in rooms, in attendance, give it them. If you know at what they are displeased, remove it.” Certainly modern psychology and medicine have come a long way since Richard Baxter as many companies and psychologists have developed more scientifically proven remedies such as antidepressants and therapeutic methods.
Throughout the history of psychology the definition of melancholy and its related symptoms and treatments. Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy written in 1621 was the first quasi-encyclopedic attempt at “cataloguing the many variants, manifestations, and causes of the mental 'disease' Melancholy.” [1] From 1784 to 1797 Charlotte Smith's Elegiac Sonnets attempted to relinquish the term of it's somewhat sexist connotation, thereby providing a more medically reputable definition.



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Nature of Forms (Plato)
Plato uses examples from math to explain his theory of forms. A circle is defined as a figure in which all the points of the edge or equidistant to the center. Although we can know the definition and we have seen "circles", we have never actually seen a true circle. All we have seen are representations of what a circle is and what it is supposed to look like. A true circle in perfect circleness does not exist in the physical world because all we see are shadows of it ( remember the allegory of the cave). This idea of circleness is unchanging and exists outside of space and time. No matter what we call a circle or think a circle is, the form of the circle still exists.


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Nature vs. Nurture

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According to Joseph LeDoux in Nature vs. Nurture: the Pendulum Still Swings With Plenty of Momentum, both nature and nurture "achieve their effects by altering the synaptic organization of the brain" [1] . Synapses are the connection points between brain cells that allow the cells to communicate with each other and are responsible for much of the brain's activity [2] . LeDoux states that "the particular patterns of synapses in a person's brain, and the information that those connections encode, are the keys to who that person is." [1] . Nature comes into play with the fact that "we are born with a hefty dose of preprogrammed synaptic links -- this is why we can cry and wriggle around the moment we leave the womb" [1]. However, LeDoux believes that "experience alters synapses as well, either creating new ones or changing the strength of existing ones" [1] . This is the part where nurture comes in and the process by which experience shapes synapses is referred to as "synaptic plasticity" and continues through childhood till death [1]. LeDoux believes that "unless we have the right kinds of visual experiences at the right time, synapses in the visual system of the brain won't develop normally" [1]. Therefore, we may not be the fortunate individuals that become "savants" [3] . He affirms that "synapses between cells change constantly[;] whenever we meet people and learn their names or remember their faces, synaptic plasticity is at work" [1] .


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Throughout the 18th century, various scientists and researchers attempted to determine the truth behind the functioning of nerves. At the time, several theories existed as to the purpose and function of nerves, and efforts were made to prove or disprove this previous work. A key study into the function of nerves, although very gruesome, was conducted first by Swammerdam in the 1600’s. Swammerdam’s work showed that external stimulation, or irritation, of the nerve was the cause of movement, and abandoned the idea of “animal spirits” playing a role. Continuing study in this field, Albrecht von Haller sought to define nervous “irritability” in 1751. Von Haller was very familiar with Swammerdam’s work, and despite not being able to prove why irritation of the nerve caused movement, he was able to rule out electricity as playing a role. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that a major breakthrough occurred in the field, thanks to work by Luigi Galvani. Galvani’s work led to the discovery that external electrical stimuli caused muscle response. This was found by accident, by having an “electric machine” in the same work space he used to dissect a frog. With this accidental discovery, Galvani “went on to reason that it was probable that the internal factor responsible for movement was also electrical.”
Throughout the 18th century, various scientists and researchers attempted to determine the truth behind the functioning of nerves. At the time, several theories existed as to the purpose and function of nerves, and efforts were made to prove or disprove this previous work. A key study into the function of nerves, although very gruesome, was conducted first by Swammerdam in the 1600’s. Swammerdam’s work showed that external stimulation, or irritation, of the nerve was the cause of movement, and abandoned the idea of “animal spirits” playing a role. Continuing study in this field, Albrecht von Haller sought to define nervous “irritability” in 1751. Von Haller was very familiar with Swammerdam’s work, and despite not being able to prove why irritation of the nerve caused movement, he was able to rule out electricity as playing a role. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that a major breakthrough occurred in the field, thanks to work by Luigi Galvani. Galvani’s work led to the discovery that external electrical stimuli caused muscle response. This was found by accident, by having an “electric machine” in the same work space he used to dissect a frog. With this accidental discovery, Galvani “went on to reason that it was probable that the internal factor responsible for movement was also electrical.”


Albrecht von Haller
Luigi Galvani

Works by People Luigi Galvani Albrecht von Haller

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Image of how the nerves were connected to the heart to make it function.

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Image of Galvani’s frog leg experiment
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Optics (Opticks)
The word optics, originally from Greek optikos, “of or having to do with sight”, first acquired its modern sense of “the science of light” in the late 16th century. [1] Much of the material which we still accept today had been formulated by the 18th century; for instance, the law of reflection was discovered in the first century C.E. [2]; and the law of refraction was discovered by many independent minds, notably Willebrord Snellius, René Descartes, and Pierre de Fermat in the 1600s, and (centuries prior) Ibn Sahl of Baghdad [3]. Isaac Newton, possibly the most-remembered optic scientist, published his “Opticks: or a Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light,” an influential summary of the discipline, in the early part of the century. Newton was a strong proponent of the long-standing particle theory of light, but the 17th century had seen the birth of the wave theory, which would hold sway after Newton’s influence waned until the two were reconciled near the beginning of the 20th century. Donovan (1795) describes light as an omnipresent fluid which is moved down to us by the sun and other heavenly bodies, which we know believe to be false [4].

Some of the workings of the eye were known by then. For instance, it was known that the eye works like “a natural telescope”, with a lens that is flexed by our ocular muscles, and that this lens inverts the image before us [4]. The optics of the eye were first described by Kepler, who also discovered that the intensity of light varies inversely with the square of distance from its source [wikipedia]. Kepler and his contemporaries were, however, unable to explain how this inverted image was sent to and processed by the brain. Divine intervention was usually used to explain this; as Donovan writes, “But it is but the more evident that this marvel is the work, not indeed of the Light, which can only agitate the bottom of my eye; nor of nature... but of God alone, who intimately operates within me...” [4].

[4] Donovan, John;
A Sketch of Opticks (1795)

Timeline of Optical Research (from wikipedia)
· 1704 — Isaac Newton publishes
Opticks, a corpuscular theory of light and colour
· 1728 — James Bradley discovers the aberration of starlight and uses it to determine that the speed of light is about 283,000 km/s
· 1746 — Leonhard Euler develops the wave theory of light refraction and dispersion
· 1752 — Benjamin Franklin shows that lightning is electricity,
· 1767 — Joseph Priestley proposes an electrical inverse-square law
· 1785 — Charles Coulomb introduces the inverse-square law of electrostatics
· 1786 — Luigi Galvani discovers "animal electricity" and postulates that animal bodies are storehouses of electricity,
· 1800 — William Herschel discovers infrared radiation from the Sun
· 1801 — Johann Ritter discovers ultraviolet radiation from the Sun
· 1801 — Thomas Young demonstrates the wave nature of light and the principle of interference
"Timeline of electromagnetism and classical optics."
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 March 2010.

External Sources:
Opticks: Or a Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections & Colours of Light Sir Isaac Newton
The Elementary Parts of Dr. Smith's Compleat System of Opticks Dr. Robert Smith

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external image phrenologicalchart.jpg
external image phrenologicalchart.jpg

Although dismissed as a “pseudoscience” in the scientific world today, the study and practice of phrenology was a substantial subject and the main pathway to gaining an understanding of the mind from the 1800s to the 19th century {1} . In a world of MRIs and brain probes, this practice is not exercised anymore; however, some basic ideas of the mechanisms of the brain were acknowledged by and stemmed from phrenology. Franz Joseph Gall , considered the father of phrenology, made several basic assumptions regarding the brain that are somewhat relevant today, though modern science has unveiled more of the true nature of these properties. Two basic ideas in particular were correct evaluations of the mind; Fran “the brain is the organ of the mind,...the mind is combined of multiple distinct, innate faculties" {2} .Years of neural studies have verified that the brain is indeed the organ that houses the mind. For centuries since the ancient civilizations, it was believed that the heart was the center of a person, in both a literal and metaphorical sense; Egyptian mythology heavily emphasized the idea that the heart of a person was weighed by the gods in the afterlife to determine their postmortem destiny {3} . The hypothesis that the brain has several areas of specialization has also been proven true; neural electric probes can stimulate sensations, emotions, and various other reactions in patients, and MRI observations have shown that general areas of the brain are more active under certain circumstances than others. Other ideas that formed the center of the philosophy and practice of phrenology are not valid today and define phrenology as a 'false science.' Phrenologists determined patients' predispositions and psychological character by examining the unevenness of the skull; areas of a patient's skull that were larger or more prominent were thought to be more 'developed' or prominent traits, with the patient having a higher tendency to display such traits. For example, affection or love was mapped at the back and base of the skull; individuals with a larger lump at the base of the skull were thought to be more affectionate {4}. Employers would oftentimes have their applicants examined by a phrenologist to determine their character as a background check, and phrenology was the most common method of examination of mental patients. Eventually, it was found that much of the phrenological map was inaccurate in pinpointing human behaviors and the geography of the skull was in no way related to human behavior {2}. More recent studies have illustrated a more accurate map of the human brain with generalized areas of bodily and intellectual function. Though phrenology is no longer considered a viable practice it was once the primary method of analyzing the mind.

[1] Van Wyhe, John. "The History of Phrenology." The Victorian Web. N.p., 2000. Web.
12 Jan. 2010. <
[2] "The History of Phrenology." N.p., 1998. Web. 10 Jan. 2010.
[3] Dunn, Jimmy. "The Ancient Egyptian Heart." InterCity Oz, Inc.,
2005. Web. 11 Jan. 2010. <

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Physiognomy is commonly known as the study of facial features, which are unchanging. These features can suggest certain messages about the personality and inner workings, including behavior and temperament of a person, at a first glance. This type of study has continued dating back all the way to the 18th century with the use of phrenology. It is also present in a variety of cultures and beliefs, including Asian, Confucianism, Western and Ancient Greeks {1}. The messages that can be conveyed include information on a persons background, diseases, character, and emotion. Since facial features change over time, this it monitored to also signal alternate information.

Some ways in which physiognomy is used in past societies, and even within today's, includes within the criminal justice system. Detectives and investigators believe they can determine if a person is more likely to commit a crime or not. Actors also use physiognomy to fill roles of other people based on their facial appearance. This is an informal use of physiognomy. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, employers used physiognomy to hire applicants based on their traits. This became known as the Merton Method {1}.
external image moz-screenshot-6.pngexternal image moz-screenshot-7.png
Courtesy of: Lavater's Physiognomy: A Taxonomy For Endorsers in Print Advertisements. 1995.

[1]"The Nature of Physiognomy." DataFace. 2003. Web. 18 March, 2010.
[2] image. <>.

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Private Madhouses
Private madhouses we’re developed in the mid 18th century London. The first of the madhouses were quick to spring up as a result of demand for places to keep the mad other than the main asylums. The majorities of the houses were very small and contained less than 50 patients. However there was a major problem with these houses. Owners often used the bare minimum amount of money possible to uphold the facilities so that they could turn a maximum profit. As a result, in 1774 the Madhouses Act was established. This act set up requirements for operating a madhouse in an effort to improve the horrific conditions that were associated with them. Furthermore, the houses would have to be certified by the Royal College of Physicians, and the certification would have to be renewed every year.

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Restraints in Lunatic Asylums
Though banned in england during the 19th century and was much more prevalent in the americas restraints were widely used in lunatic asylums for multiple reasons. Originally considered humane and a way to keep dangerous patients from hurting themselves or other patients. Though in some asylums it was used for punishment it was looked down on punishing the mentally insane in this fashion and was very rare. In the early 18th century asylums in both the americas and england commonly chained patients to walls or beds. Still done to this day has caused deaths of many mentally ill in fires. Though chains were quickly left behind in preference to leather straps where patients were strapped down to their beds as well as straight jackets.

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The Royal Society
external image Royal+Society+Of+London.jpg
external image Royal+Society+Of+London.jpg
The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge or simply known as the Royal Society is a society for science, and is the oldest such society in existence. Formally founded on 15 July 1662 by Royal Charter as the "Royal Society of London", the Society was initially an extension of the "Invisible College", with the founders intending for it to be a place of research and discussion [1] . The Society started as a group of approximately twelve scientists that met at a variety of locations, including the houses of their members and Gresham College. Notable members include John Locke, Issac Newton, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Christopher Wren, and William Petty. The group discussed what they called "new science" which was promoted by Francis Bacon in in New Atlantis from approximately 1645 onwards. The group initially had no rules or methods and the primary goals were to organize and view experiments and communicate their discoveries to each other [1] .
The group varied over time and eventually split into two distinct factions in 1638 due to travel distances. The two groups were the London Society and the Oxford Society. The Oxford Society was more active because many members of the overall College lived there. It was also established as
The Philosophical Society of Oxford and run under a set of rules still retained by the Bodleian Library, which was the main research library at the University of Oxford and one of the oldest ones in Europe [1] . The London group continued to meet at Gresham College, primarily after lectures hosted by Christopher Wren and expanded its membership. It was forced to disband in 1658 during the English Civil War and did not function again until after the Restoration. The society continued to move to different locations through the centuries. It currently resides in Carlton House Terrace in London. The Society today acts as a scientific advisor to Her Majesty's Government, receiving a grant-in-aid from them, funding a variety of research fellowships and scientific start-up companies and acting as the United Kingdom's Academy of Sciences [1] .


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St. Luke's Hospital for Lunatics
According to the Science Museum in London, St. Luke's Hospital for Lunatics was founded in 1751, taking its name from the parish and church of St. Luke's. The Science Museum also stated that the hospital was founded in order to reduce the pressure that was being placed on Britain's other asylum, Bethlem. Andrew Roberts of Middlesex University states that the hospital actually had two locations, in 1786 a new location was built on Old Street in London. He also says that the hospital remained operation until 1916, till it was closed and the patients were transferred to other institutions. He also noted that St. Luke's was one of the first teaching hospital's that actively studied mental disorders.
external image hommedia.ashx?id=95737&size=Large


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Scottish Enlightenment
During the proliferation of relations between Scotland and England in the 17th century Scotland began its enlightenment period. Philosophy born during this time was greatly influenced by the French enlightenment’s idea of speculative-rationalism and it’s more pronounced form, utilitarianism.[1 ] Utilitarianism is the “theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number.”[2 ] This concept arose due to England’s vastly more successful economy and the Scottish desire to lessen the gap between the two nations. The primary foci behind the movement were moral philosophy, history, and economy—each shaped by research and insight of David Hume.[1 ]

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Credit: Wellcome Library, London  Representing a figureofSensibility by Richard Earlom after George Romney  StippleEngraving1789 By: Richard Earlom after: George Romney
Credit: Wellcome Library, London Representing a figureofSensibility by Richard Earlom after George Romney StippleEngraving1789 By: Richard Earlom after: George Romney

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, sensibility is, “Quickness and acuteness of apprehension or feeling; the quality of being easily and strongly affected by emotional influences; sensitiveness. Also, with const., sensitiveness to, keen sense of something.”
During the mid eighteenth century, “sensibility” and the “language of sensibility” appeared for the first time and took on new meanings (Brady). This new language took on an important role in what became the sentimental novel. These sentimental novels had a greater emphasis on the emotional perception of both the reader and the characters in the novel. As the sentimental novel evolved, it turned into the ability to turn “the analysis of emotion to a fine art.”(Britannica) In time, the sentimental novel evolved, and contained characters that had a greater “susceptibility to delicate sensation”. (Britannica) Sensibility also played a role in philosophy in the 18th century. The works of John Locke and David Hume both brought sensibility in to their discussion of human understanding and knowledge. At the time, there were opponents to the sensibility movement that were taking hold (Rousseau). However, the movement thrived. Samuel Johnson, one of the many writers of sentimental novels, countered the criticism faced by the sensibility movement, wrote in the
Idler No. 100:
She daily exercises her benevolence by pitying every misfortune that happens to every family within her circle of notice; sh e is in hourly terrors lest one should catch cold in the rain, and another be frighted by the high wind. Her charity she shews by lamenting that so many poor wretches should languish in t he streets, and by wondering what the great can think on that they do so little good with such large estates.

From the philosophical standpoint, sensibility can be seen through two primary subjective sources of features: the “sensibility” and the “understanding”. Sensibility is passive or receptive; 
it is the mind's capacity to be affected by things, as they are in 
themselves, that mental contents or representations, which Kant calls 
 ‘intuitions’ or ‘perceptions’, are thereby generated. Within this receptive faculty of sensibility, Kant distinguishes between “inner” and “outer” sense, 
insisting that time is nothing but the form of the one and space nothing but the form of the other. The doctrine is that the temporal character of 
experience and the possession by some 
intuitions of the character of spatiality, which allows their orderly fashion, are due to the 
constitution of inner and outer sense respectively. In particular, time, the form of inner sense, is the mode of ordering which results from our self-affection. In addition to the passive faculty of sensibility, we have the active affecting faculty of understanding. Understanding is the faculty, which enables us to conceptualize our intuitions, and it is the subjective source of those general principles of conceptualization (the categories), which enable and require us to conceptualize our intuitions to give them the character of perceptions of a law-governed world of objects. The governing laws are open to investigation by the methods of empirical science.
There were many novelists that wrote about sensibility in the form of sentimental novels and in philosophical texts. These include: Addison, Hume, Burke, Johnson, Godwin, R. Sickelmore, Bentham, W. Wilson, Jane Austen, Hazlittm W. Irving, Ruskin, Macaulay, and many more. (Oxford English Dictionary)
According to the classica
Wellcome Library, London  Two men exhibiting postures whichexpress their character: on the left a man of 'brutal sensibility', onthe right, a miser. Drawing by D.N. Chodowiecki, c. 1789.
Wellcome Library, London Two men exhibiting postures whichexpress their character: on the left a man of 'brutal sensibility', onthe right, a miser. Drawing by D.N. Chodowiecki, c. 1789.
l meaning of the word sensibility, it is the “capacity to respond or react to a stimulus” (OED). The word was an important term in the 18th century, also known as the Romantic Era, in which its origins date back to the 14th century. Compared to the meaning of the word “sensibility” in the 18th century, these days it has a different meaning. In the former period, the word was classically linked with sentiments and emotions. According to
Observations on the Sensibility and Irritability of the Parts of Men and other animals by Robert Whytt, sensibility is more related to the ability to ‘feel’. For example, tendons, ligaments, and other membranes were defined insensible in that time because people could not feel pain if those tissues were wounded. Experiments were designed to test the pain through observing the reaction when certain parts of the body were wounded. Nowadays, in a layperson’s language, the word “sensible” typically has its roots linked to the person referred to as wise and intelligent. In its colloquial usage, it has little to do with the senses, perceptions, and emotions. For instance, if we say, “Adam is a sensible boy”, we are referring to the fact that his judgment about something is sound, and that he nearly always takes the correct path or makes the correct choice. This is contrary to the usage of the word in the 18th century, where, if this adjective were used to describe Adam, it would mean that he was perceptive to the happenings around him. It would infer that he is a sentimental person, one who attaches himself in an emotional way to most things.
To understand the word, it is important to examine the meaning and the roots of the word “sensibility”. As mentioned before, the use and the meaning of the word were revolutionized in the Romantic Era. The Romantic Era ranged from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century. The movement led to the increased awareness of sensibility in philosophy and literature. This, in turn, led to expressed emotions and allowed for people to be ‘in tune’ with not only their emotions, but also other people’s emotions. Since “sex” is often considered something that is sacrosanct, and is an epitome of emotion between two people, this revolution in the expression of the word “sensibility” led to an increase in the role of sex in society through literature, art, and philosophy. In other words, it started the trend that led to the discussion of “sex” becoming no more than a taboo.

Brady, Corey, Virginia Cope, Michael Millner, Anna Mitric, and Kent Puckett. “Introduction to the Project.”
The Dictionary of Sensibility. University of Virginia, Web. 1 Mar 2010.<>

Johnson, Samuel.
The Idler, No. 100.

Oxford English Diction <>

Rousseau, G S. “Sensibility Reconsidered. Essay Review.”
Medical History. 39.3 (1995): 375-377. Print.

"sentimental novel." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 03 Mar. 2010 <>.

Whytt, Robert, M.D. F.R.S. "Physiological essays containing, I. An inquiry into the causes which promote the circulation of the fluids in the very small vessels ofanimals. II. Observations on the sensibility and irritability of the parts of men and other Animals; occasioned by M. de Haller's late treatise on these subjects. The third edition, with an appendix, containing an answer to M. de Haller's remarks in the 4th volume ofthe Memoires sur les parties sensibles et irritables. By Robert Whytt, M.D. F.R.S. Physician to his Majesty. Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and Professor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh." Edinburgh, MDCCLXVI. [1766]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. GEORGIA STATE UNIV. 22 Feb. 2010 <>

For List of Other Works Relevant to "Sensibility":

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Severed Brain Patients
The process of splitting the two hemispheres of the brain is called corpus callosotomy. 2 This surgical procedure is performed most commonly on patients suffering from severe epileptic seizures in attempt to isolate the seizures to only the hemisphere in which it has originated. According to the Split-Brain Wikipedia page, only the anterior third of the corpus callosum is severed in the modern day procedure. If the seizures are not isolated, then the next third of the corpus callosum is severed and so on.1 A complete split of the two hemispheres is not recommended because this prevents all communication between the two sides of the brain.1 By disconnecting the two cerebral hemispheres, specialized functions are also limited to its respective hemisphere. The left hemisphere usually becomes the dominant half since it contains the main language areas (Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area) along with other communication areas.2 Some functions are split amongst the hemispheres but not communicated to the other hemisphere, causing confusion. For example, each part of both eyes processes information in their respective part of the brain. The left part of each eye processes information on the left part of the brain, and the right part of each eye on the right part of the brain.2 The experiment referenced in “Mapping the Mind” showed how this was related to saying what object that the patient with a split brain sees. This experiment found that the ability to say what is seen for right-handed individuals is located on the left part of the brain. Hence, if an object is displayed on the left side of the eye and seen by the left part of the brain, then the patient can name the object that was displayed. However, if the object is seen by on the right side of the eye, then the person is unable to say the name of the object because their language area resides in the other hemisphere. Even when the patient was asked to select an object that was named, the patient selected the wrong item. However, when the subject was asked to use their left hand to reach for the object that was named, the patient selected the correct object without difficulty. Information is processed in the right side of the brain while the ability to speak is controlled by the left side of the brain3. Therefore, the patient is unable say what the object is. Furthermore, the split brain procedure can sometimes result in alien hand syndrome.3 This is a result of the right brain trying to outwardly express its thoughts in place of the functions it could once perform.

1 Wikipedia Corpus Callosotomy
2 Wikipedia Split-Brain
3 Mapping the Mind by Rita Carter

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Similarities Between OCD and Tourette's Syndrome
Individuals with "Gilles De La Tourette's Syndrome" cannot prevent themselves from acting in ways that are perceived as ridiculous or absurd at any occasion.1 These actions occur as twitches, or tics. Tics are uncontrollable “spasms” that can be based in motor movements of the body, and those with Tourette’s Syndrome usually have at least one vocal tic that consists of a single word or phrase that may come out at any time, just like the motor tics. Tics are a result of a "burst of activity in an area of the unconscious brain called the putamen" (Carter 57). The main function of the putamen is to look after automatic movements and sporadic activity to the area results in these strange outbursts. There are as many as one Tourette’s patient in a thousand people, but most cases are so mild, consisting of blinking eyes or clearing of the throat, that they are never identified as Tourette’s Syndrome and never treated. In fact, most people with Tourette’s Syndrome find that their symptoms decrease as they enter adulthood. Patients can control the tics but only for a short amount of time and relate the feeling of controlling of the urge to holding one's breath. Similarly to holding one’s breath, once the patient gives in to the tics, they come more rapidly and for a longer period, as if to make up for the time they were controlled.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder also forces individuals to perform strange actions but those actions are generally much more complicated than any tic.2 This is because the urge is sent to the caudate which creates to urge "to do something," then to the pre-frontal cortex which creates the feeling that "something is wrong," then finally to the cingulate cortex which maintains the feeling of unease (Carter 59). Unlike the putamen, the caudate nucleus touches the frontal lobes where analytical thinking, which is the "highest form of cognition," takes place (Carter 61). Because of this, OCD is much harder to control than Tourette’s Syndrome. Some compulsions might include repeatedly checking the front door to your home to make sure that it is locked to the extent that you never go to sleep at night, or even washing your hands because even the thought of germs terrifies you of becoming sick.

The difference between these two disorders lies in the fact that the brain uses a different method for both activities. Tourette’s patients have a sudden influx of action in the putamen, which causes a sudden action, whether motor-related or vocal. This means that the patients can control the tic to some extent because even the brain recognizes that something is different about this command versus one made by conscious decision. In OCD patients, an outside stimulus is registered by the limbic system, which creates a desire. The cortex instructs the body to take action to fulfill the desire. The action that is carried out sends messages back to the limbic system which releases" opioid-like neurotransmitters" that increase dopamine levels and "create a feeling of satisfaction" ( Carter 63). That same “feeling of satisfaction” is in itself a reward system, which could “train” the brain to continue to seek that same obsession and compel its body to fulfill the action.

1.Wikipedia Tourette Syndrome

2. Wikipedia Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Mapping the Mind by Rita Carter (pages 59-63)

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Social Contract Theory:
One theory about how political authority can arise is social contract theory. According to social contract theory, consent is the basis of government. It is because people have agreed to be ruled that governments are entitled to rule.

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State of Nature:
In contrast to Hobbes, who posited the state of nature as a hypothetical possibility, Locke is at great pains to show that such a state did indeed exist. Indeed, it exists wherever there is no legitimate government. While no individual in this state may tell another what to do or authoritatively pronounce justice in a given case, men are not free to do whatever they please.{1}

"The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it", and that law is Reason. Locke believes that reason teaches that "no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions"; and that transgressions of this may be punished. This view of the state of nature is partly deduced from Christian belief (unlike Hobbes, whose philosophy is not dependent upon any prior theology): the reason we may not harm another is that we are all the possessions of God and do not own ourselves.{2}

My own thoughts: This principle is based on Locke 's theory of tabula rasa, because it shows that government is not innate. Mankind's need for survival and escapes from chaos forces them to form a government, therefore exiting the state of nature.

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A vapour is a term that was used in the eighteenth century in order to describe things that occurred in the body or to the body that science at that time could not explain. Vapours were seen as the connection between a human and their spirit (Burton). It was believed that you could pass these vapours to another person by rays that came from your eyes (Burton). You can think of them almost as an invisible gas that is generated in the blood or internal organs and flows throughout the body. It was believed that vapours rose fifty feet above other natural things such as meteors, clouds, or fog (Burton). These vapours could either be both bad as well as or good; however, most people viewed them their in a negative side.
A good vapour, or pleasant vapour as it is called, is said to stem from the heart (Burton). Timg002(2).jpghey cause tingling sensations on the inside of the body that one would feel if they were extremely happy or even is someone was experiencing the feeling of love. As such, these vapours were viewed as being pleasant and desired.
Along with these pleasant vapours, there are were also thought to be bad vapours; these ranged from that cause problems that range from depression, a woman being unable to have children, sleepwalking, nightmares, or even to explain a simple headache. Bad vapours are were said to come from the black blood that surrounds the heart (Burton). However, many people at the time also felt as if bad vapours came from other internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, and stomach, and still other people who believed that vapours came from a females minstrel fluid (Gilman).
Females who were barren or who did not copulate were said to be infected with vapours (Burton). It was thought that the eggs inside the woman were corrupt and when they were expelled in the form of minstrel blood they emitted poisonous vapors and infect the brain as well as the stomach (Burton). This is how they explained the weight gain and headaches that many women started to have if they had not had a baby. This idea that vapours come from minstrel fluid was supported by the scientists Ali Ibn Rabban Al-Tabari as well as Johannes Platerarius. These two believed that the reason that some women were not able to bear children was because of vapours that resulted from the woman’s lack of sexual intercourse (Gilman). The difference between the two was that Ali Ibn Rabban Al-Tabari believed that a lack of intercourse would cause the minstrel blood to thicken and release vapours, which would result in painful breathing, palpitations, and even suffocation of the womb (Biography of Ali Ibn Rabban Al-Tabari1). Platearius believed that is if a fe
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male did not produce a fertile offspring that then her womb would fill with vapours and then which would physically rise in the body to put pressure on the internal organs (Gilman).
Depression was explained with the use of vapours as well. Vapours were said to come from other parts of the body and flow up to the head. That flow of vapours to the head would then affect the imagination and block the good thoughts just like dark clouds will block out the sun (Burton). This was said to be the cause of bad feelings such as fear and sorrow (Burton).

Vapours were also used to explain sleepwalking and nightmares. Vapours from the body were believed to flow to the head and move the animal spirits in the body, which caused you to walk around even though you had no cognition over what you were doing (Burton). These same vapours also penetrated into your imagination and caused nightmares while a person was sleeping (Burton). Certain things that are eaten were believed to cause these vapours by sending black vapours up to the brain that resulted in bad dreams such as gourds, melons, cucumbers, and cabbage (Burton).
Other ailments are said to arise from vapours as well; these include. such as aching hearts and even simple headaches. These ailments were said to be the result of vapours that forming formed in the stomach and then flowed up tointo the head (Burton)
With all the ailments that occurred from vapours, there were also treatments that were believed to cure vapors. One thing that a person could do was to eat certain food. Many people at the time believed that eating fruits could cure vapours, especially eating sweet fruits like plumbs and cherries (Burton). Another remedy is to exercise. It was believed that the vapours were expelled from your body along with sweat (Burton).
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One final way to rid people of vapours at the time was to drill holes in their skulls in order to expel the vapours (Burton). This idea resulted from a man in Rome who had his skull cracked in battle and became well, but when his skull healed he became sick once more (Burton). This thought made people of the time believe that an opening could help "relieve the pressure" caused by vapours.

1) “Biography of Ali Ibn Rabban Al-Tabari.”
Incredible People. Web. 27 Feb 2010.

2) Burton, Robert. “The Anatomy of Melancholy.”
Psyplexus (1652): Web. 27 Feb 2010.
3) Gilman, Sander L., Helen King, Roy Porter, G.S. Rousseau, and Elaine Showalter.
Hysteria Beyond Freud//. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993. 50-56. Web. 27 Feb 2010. <>.

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