Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

the foetal condition np to the time of birth, the organ generated in the 
living germ for the future manifestation of the mind has been destroyed 
(by hydrocephalus) at a period when it was not sufficiently developed 
to allow the exercise of the mental functions. 
From the considerations and facts thus premised, we are now able to 
determine the question, whether lesions of the texture of the brain mo¬ 
dify the mind itself; whether in mental affection^ the mind or its “ es¬ 
sence” can itself be diseased, or whether merely the action of the mind 
by its instrument be altered. Since, as we have seen, the existence of 
the mental principle does not depend on an uninjured condition of the 
brain, and since it is certainly present, although in a latent state, in the 
germ separated from the parent animal, it is evident that a change in the 
structure of the brain cannot produce a change in the mental principle 
itself, but can only modify its actions. The action of the mind is depen¬ 
dent on the integrity of the fibrous structure and composition of the 
brain. The mode of mental action is always determined by the modifi¬ 
cation of structure and condition of the organ; but the mental “essence,” 
the latent mental “ force,” as far as it does not manifest itself, appears 
to be independent of all changes in the brain. According to this view, 
all inquiries as to the ultimate cause of affections of the mind, as regards 
the question of their dependence on the brain or on the mind itself, are 
useless; and the physician has to keep in view, as the first point in all 
abnormal conditions of the mental functions, merely the nature of the 
structural change by which the action is rendered abnormal or pre¬ 
vented. Two cases of congenital idiocy have been reported to us, in 
which the cranium is so low that the representations given of them call 
to mind the state of the skull in hemicephalous monsters; but here the 
cranium is perfect. These idiots are the two sons of a widow named 
Sohn, living in the colony Kiwitsblott, a German mile from Bromberg; 
one is aged 17, the other 10 years. Both, enjoying excellent health, are 
at the same time so stupid that they do not remember their way back to 
their home if they leave it but a short distance; and cannot unbutton 
their breeches, although they have full powers of motion and volition in 
all parts of their body: they manifest their volition only in eating and 
drinking, and in destroying everything which comes into their hands; 
they are, however, tractable, and not malicious in disposition. Even in 
these remarkable cases we cannot imagine that any congenital disease 
of the mind itself existed—any original defect of the mental principle; 
in the latent state of this principle in the germ, there was, without 
doubt, all present which was necessary for the highest perfection; but, 
on account of the imperfect formation of the brain, the development of 
the higher mental faculties became impossible. In the same way, in a 
healthy man, a sudden change in the condition of the brain modifies the 
manifestation of the mental principle, or even renders it latent; but, if 
the pressure which impeded the action of the brain be removed, the 
functions of the mind are frequently restored in their entire integrity. 
Since the action of any part always induces a change in the organic 
matter which composes it, (see page 55,) it necessarily follows that 
immoderate exertion of the mind, a continued direction of it to one ob¬ 
ject consequent on external circumstances or great mental excitement,


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