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April 9, 1892

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF THE PHYSICAL BASIS OF VOLUNTARY ACTION, MEMORY, EMOTION AND THOUGHT.An address delivered before the Anthropological Society of Yonkers, N. Y.. March 4, 1892.

Author Affiliations

President New York Academy of Anthropology; Member New York County Medical Society: Brooklyn Pathological Society: Member Royal Asiatic Society of London; Gold Medallist Society, Science, Letters, and Art, of London; Medical Superintendent Sunny Side Sanitarium for Disease of the Nervous System. Inebriety, and the Opium Habit. 128 Park Place, Brooklvn, N. Y.

JAMA. 1892;XVIII(15):447-452. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411190007001a

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Mr. President, and Ladies and Gentlemen: I will ask your attention to a few introductory remarks on the psychical life of man before proceeding to discuss my main topic, which is the physical basis of voluntary action, memory, emotion and thought.


A psychological investigation of man is necessary for the reason that though anatomy and physiology furnish us with stronger grounds in favor of the unity of mankind as a species, than the arguments advanced for the opposite theory they cannot alone be considered as decisive, and even if they were conclusive they would lose their validity if it could be proved there existed permanent psychical differences, presenting impassible barriers to the development of individual races. If it is somewhat difficult to arrive at a just estimation of the mental capacity of individuals, it is still more difficult to estimate the psychological capacity of whole nations and races.

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