• Chiara Russo KraussEmail author


Russo Krauss summarizes the role played by Wilhelm Wundt in 19th-century scientific psychology, as well as the state of research on this subject. The centennial of the foundation of the laboratory for experimental psychology in Leipzig revitalized the research on Wundt. Edwin Boring and Kurt Danziger retraced the so-called “positivist repudiation of Wundt” by his former pupils—Hermann Ebbinghaus, Oswald Külpe, Edward B. Titchener—that were influenced by the empiriocriticists Ernst Mach and Richard Avenarius. Russo Krauss aims at showing that, since Avenarius was and still is wrongly considered just a pale copy of Mach, his peculiar part in the “repudiation of Wundt” and in the debate on the foundation of psychology has not yet been investigated.


Scientific psychology Philosophy of psychology History of psychology Empiriocriticism Positivist philosophy 


  1. Avenarius Archive, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Handschriftenabteilung.Google Scholar
  2. Wundt Archive, Psychologischen Instituts der Universität Leipzig—Universitätsarchiv Leipzig.
  3. Araujo, Saulo de Freitas. 2015. Wundt and the Philosophical Foundations of Psychology: A Reappraisal. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Arens, Katherine. 1989. Structures of Knowing: Psychologies of the Nineteenth Century. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. Avenarius, Richard. 1888. Kritik der reinen Erfahrung. Vol. 1. 2 vols. Leipzig: Fues.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1890. Kritik der reinen Erfahrung. Vol. 1. 2 vols. Leipzig: Fues.Google Scholar
  7. ———. [1891] 1905. Der menschliche Weltbegriff. Leipzig: Reisland.Google Scholar
  8. Blumenthal, Arthur L. 1980. “Wilhelm Wundt: Problems of interpretation.” In Wundt Studies: A Centennial Collection, edited by Wolfgang G. Bringmann and Ryan D. Tweney, 435–45. Toronto: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  9. Boring, Edwin G. 1929. A History of Experimental Psychology. New York: Century.Google Scholar
  10. Bringmann, Wolfgang G., and Ryan D. Tweney, eds. 1980. Wundt Studies: A Centennial Collection. Toronto: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  11. Carstanjen, Friedrich. 1898. “Der Empiriokritizismus: Zugleich eine Erwiderung auf W. Wundts Aufsätze ‘Über naiven und kritischen Realismus’.” Vierteljahrsschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie 22: 45–95, 190–214, 267–93.Google Scholar
  12. Danneberg, Lutz, Andreas Kamlah, and Lothar Schäfer, eds. 1994. Hans Reichenbach und die Berliner Gruppe. Braunschweig: Vieweg.Google Scholar
  13. Danziger, Kurt. 1979. “The Positivist Repudiation of Wundt.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 15 (3): 205–30.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 1990. “Wilhelm Wundt and the Emergence of Experimental Psychology.” In Companion to the History of Modern Science, edited by Robert C. Olby, Geoffrey N. Cantor, John R. R. Christie, and M. J. S. Hodge, 396–408. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2001. “The Unknown Wundt: Drive, Apperception, and Volition.” In Wilhelm Wundt in History, 95–120. Boston: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Diamond, Solomon. 2001. “Wundt before Leipzig.” In Wilhelm Wundt in History, 1–68. Boston: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Fechner, Gustav Theodor. 1860. Elemente der Psychophysik. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel.Google Scholar
  18. Haller, Rudolf, and Friedrich Stadler. 1993. Wien, Berlin, Prag: Der Aufstieg der wissenschaftlichen Philosophie. Wien: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.Google Scholar
  19. Hentschel, Klaus, 1990. Die Korrespondenz Petzoldt—Reichenbach: Zur Entwicklung der “wissenschaftlichen Philosophie” in Berlin. Berlin: SIGMA.Google Scholar
  20. Kardas, Edward P. 2013. History of Psychology: The Making of a Science. Boston: Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  21. Kusch, Martin. 1995. Psychologism: A Case Study in the Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 1999. Psychological Knowledge: A Social History and Philosophy. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Lenin, Vladimir I. 1927. Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. Edited by Alexender Trachtenberg. Vol. XIII. Collected Works of V. I. Lenin. London: Martin Lawrence.Google Scholar
  24. Milkov, Nikolay, and Volker Peckhaus, eds. 2013. The Berlin Group and the Philosophy of Logical Empiricism. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  25. Mischel, Theodore. 1970. “Wundt and the Conceptual Foundations of Psychology.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 31 (1): 1–26.Google Scholar
  26. Mülberger, Annette. 2012. “Wundt Contested: The First Crisis Declaration in Psychology.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2): 434–44.Google Scholar
  27. Perry, Ralph B., ed. 1935. The Thought and Character of William James. Vol II. Philosophy and Psychology. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Rieber, Robert, ed. 1980. Wilhelm Wundt and the Making of a Scientific Psychology. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  29. Rieber, Robert, and David Robinson, eds. 2001. Wilhelm Wundt in History: The Making of a Scientific Psychology. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  30. Robinson, David K. 1987. “Wilhelm Wundt and the Establishment of Experimental Psychology, 1875–1914: The Context of a New Field of Scientific Research”. PhD dissertation‚ University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  31. ———. 2001. “Reaction-Time Experiments in Wundt’s Institute and Beyond.” In Wilhelm Wundt in History, 161–204. Boston: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. Tinker, Miles A. 1932. “Wundt’s Doctorate Students and Their Theses 1875–1920.” The American Journal of Psychology 44 (4): 630–37.Google Scholar
  33. Willy, Rudolf. 1899. Die Krisis in der Psychologie. Leipzig: O. R. Reisland.Google Scholar
  34. Woodward, William Ray, and Mitchell G. Ash, eds. 1982. The Problematic Science: Psychology in Nineteenth-Century Thought. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  35. Wundt, Wilhelm. 1874. Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie. 1st ed. Leipzig: Engelmann.Google Scholar
  36. ———. 1904. Principles of Physiological Psychology. Translated by Edward B. Titchener. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

Personalised recommendations