Definition of IMBECILITY


IMBECILITY

med. jur. A weakness of the mind, caused by the
absence or obliteration of natural or acquired ideas; or it is
described to be an abnormal deficiency either in those faculties
which acquaint us with the qualities and ordinary relations of
things, or in those which furnish us with the moral motives that
regulate our relations and conduct towards our fellow men. It is
frequently attended with excessive activity. of one or more of the
animal propensities.

2. Imbecility differs from idiocy in this, that the subjects of
the former possess some intellectual capacity, though inferior in
degree to that possessed by the great mass of mankind; while
those of the latter are utterly destitute of reason. Imbecility
differs also from stupidity. (q. v.) The former consists in a
defect of the mind, which renders it unable to examine the data
presented to it by the senses, and therefrom to deduce the correct
judgment; that is, a defect of intensity, or reflective power. The
latter is occasioned by a want of intensity, or perceptive power.

3. There are various degrees of this disease. It has been
attempted to classify the degrees of imbecility, but the careful
observer of nature will perhaps be soon satisfied that the shades
of difference between one species and another, are almost
imperceptible. Ray, Med. Jur. ch. 3; 2 Beck, Med. Jur. 550, 542; 1
Hagg. Ecc. R. 384; 2 Philm. R. 449; 1 Litt. R. 252, 5 John. Ch. R.
161; 1 Litt. R. 101; Des Maladies mentales, consideres dans
leurs rapports avec la legislation civille et criminelle, 8;
Georget, Discussion medico-lgale sur la folie, 140.

Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition

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