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Empiricism and Conceptual Psychology: Psychophysics and Philology

  • Katherine Arens
Chapter
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Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 113)

Abstract

Within fifty years of the time that Kant and Herbart opened the way to a conceptual psychology dealing with the workings of the mind, its historicity, and its contents, several attempts were made to incorporate these advances into the foundations of humanistic disciplines.

Keywords

Conceptual Psychology Group Consciousness Individual Mind Individual Consciousness Mental Construct 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Gustav Theodor Fechner, Elemente der Psychophysik, 3. Auf. (Leipzig: Breitkopf und Hartel, 1907 [1859/60, 1888]) [= E1P in text].Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Richard Avenarius, Kritik der reinen Erfahrung, 3rd Ed., Vol I (Leipzig: O.R. Reisland, 1921 [1908]) [= KrE in text].Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wilhelm Wundt, Völkerpsychologie: Eine Untersuchung der Entwicklungsgesetze von Sprache, Mythus und Sitte, Bd. I & II, Die Sprache, 3rd ed. (Aalen: Scientia, 1975 [1911/12, 1900]) [= V in text].Google Scholar
  4. 3a.
    Wilhelm Wundt, An older translation exists, which was not used due to limited availability: Elements of Folk Psychology: Outline of a Psychological History of the Development of Mankind, trans. Edward Leroy Schaub (London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: MacMillan, 1916).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Hermann Paul, Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte, 6th ed. (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1960 [2nd ed., 1886]) [= PS in text].Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Wilhelm Wundt, Grundriß der Psychologie, 15th ed. (Leipzig: Alfred Kröner, 1922 [1896]) [= GrP in text].Google Scholar
  7. 5a.
    For a translation of the Outlines of Psychology, see C.H. Judd, trans. (Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelman, 1897; New York: Steckert, 1897). This is but one of a series of textbooks that Wundt published in his career.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    For a general overview of Fechner’s work and influence, see J.C. Flügel, A Hundred Years of Psychology, 2nd ed. (London: Duckworth, 1951), esp. II.3 and III.6.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    For a biography and overview of the work of Fechner, see Max Wentscher, Fechner und Lotze, Geschichte der Philosophie in Einzeldarstellungen, Bd. 36 (München: Ernst Reinhardt, 1925).Google Scholar
  10. 7a.
    See also “Gustav Theodor Fechner: Rede zur Feier seines 100-jährigen Geburtstages,” given by Wilhelm Wundt (Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1901).Google Scholar
  11. 7b.
    and G. Stanley Hall, Founders of Modern Psychology (New York: D. Appleton, 1912), who has chapters on both Fechner and Wundt.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 7c.
    A feuilleton reaction to Fechner’s work, particularly his vitalism or world mysticism is provided by Wilhelm Bölsche, Hinter der Weltstadt: Friedrichs-hagener Gedanken zur ästhetischen Kultur (Jena, Leipzig: Eugen Diederichs, 1912). Harold [actually “Harald”] Höffding includes Fechner in his Brief History of Modern Philosophy, trans.Google Scholar
  13. 7d.
    Charles Finley Sanders (New York: MacMillan, 1931 [1912]), although not in his Modern Philosophers, trans. Alfred C. Mason (London: MacMillan & Co., 1915 [1902]), which stresses Wundt instead. For more modern treatments of Fechner.Google Scholar
  14. 7e.
    see Richard Lowry, The Evolution of Psychological Theory: 1650 to the Present (Chicago/New York: Aldine/Atherton, 1971), especially pp. 90–109, “Psychophysics and the ‘New Psychology;’”Google Scholar
  15. 7f.
    William R. Woodward, “Fechner’s Panpsychism: A Scientific Solution to the Mind-Body Problem,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 8, No. 4 (October 1972): 367–86, particularly on the early Fechner;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 7g.
    M.E. Marshall, “G.T. Fechner: Premises Toward a General Theory of Organisms [1823],” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 10, No. 4 (October 1974): 438–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 7h.
    M.E. Marshall “William James, Gustav Fechner, and the Question of Dogs and Cats in the Library,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 10, No. 3 (July 1974): 304–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 8.
    Literature on Avenarius’ work is rare, yet one readable overview exists: Wendell T. Bush, Avenarius and the Standpoint of Pure Experience (diss. Columbia; New York: The Science Press, 1905).Google Scholar
  19. 8a.
    Kurt Danziger, in “The Positivist Repudiation of Wundt,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 15, No. 3 (July 1979): 205–230, mentions Avenarius briefly, along with Dilthey.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 9.
    This is not Darwinism, because survival values include group decisions. The term as used today was nowhere near as well-defined in the nineteenth century. See Peter J. Bowler, The Eclipse of Darwin: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades around 1900 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), for an outline of variants available.Google Scholar
  21. 10.
    For an overview of Wundt’s career, see Raymond E. Fancher, Pioneers of Psychology (New York: Norton, 1979), Chapter 4, “Psychology in the University: Wilhelm Wundt and William James.” For a focus on Wundt’s pupils and influence.Google Scholar
  22. 10a.
    see J.C. Flügel, A Hundred Years of Psychology, esp. III.8 and III.11. For an introduction into Wundt, see Wolfgang G. Bringmann, William D.G. Balance, and Rand B. Evens, “Wilhelm Wundt 1832–1920: A Brief Biographical Sketch,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 11, No. 3 (July 1975): 287–97.Google Scholar
  23. 11.
    Mitchell G. Ash, in “Wilhelm Wundt and Oswald Külpe on the Institutional Status of Psychology: An Academic Controversy in Historical Context,” Wundt Studies, eds. W.G. Bringmann and Ryan D. Tweney, (Toronto: Hogrefe, 1980): 396–421, explains some of the institutional problems that have arisen in considering Wundt’s contribution. Arthur L. Blumenthal attributes Titchener with turning Wundt into an introspectionist (“Wilhelm Wundt — Problems of Interpretation,” Wundt Studies: 435–45); he also asserts that Wundt was much more the cultural psychologist than is normally asserted, in part due to the mistranslations of central Wundtian terms (“Wilhelm Wundt: Psychology as the Propaedeutic Science,” 19–50 in Bruxton, op. cit.), and stresses the Grundriß as the core of cultural psychology, as will be done here.Google Scholar
  24. 11a.
    Richard J. Anderson echoes the attribution of Titchener as the one who altered Wundt’s image: “The Untranslated Content of Wundt’s Grundzüge der physiologischen PsychologieJournal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 11, No. 4 (Oct. 1975): 381–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 12.
    Kurt Danziger has led in placing Wundt in a broader historical context, including Kant, Herbart, Leibniz, Fechner, and historical linguists such as Herder and Steinthal. See: “The History of Introspection Reconsidered,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 16, No. 3 (July 1980): 241–262; “Origins and Basic Principles of Wundt’s Völkerpsychologie,” British Journal of Social Psychiatry, 22 (1983): 303–313; “The Positivist Repudiation of Wundt,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 15, No. 3 (July 1979): 205–230; “Wilhelm Wundt and the Emergence of Experimental Psychology,” Companion to the History of Modern Science, eds. G.N. Carter, J.R.R. Christie, MJ.S. Hodge, and R.C. Olby (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1987).Google Scholar
  26. 12a.
    “Wundt as Methodologist,” Advances in Historiography of Psychology, eds. G. Eckardt and L. Sprung (op. cit)1987: 33–42; and two essays, “Wundt and the Two Traditions in Psychology,” and “Wundt’s Theory of Behavior and Volition,” in Wilhelm Wundt and the Making of a Scientific Psychology, ed. Robert W. Rieber (New York: Plenum Press, 1980): 73–88; 89–116.Google Scholar
  27. 13.
    In this context, see also David E. Leary, “Wundt and After: Psychology’s Shifting Relations with the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Philosophy,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 15 (1979): 231–41, who argues for Wundt’s work as a hybrid of natural and social sciences. For a description of one of Wundt’s chief innovationsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 13a.
    see Thomas H. Leahey, “Something Old, Something New: Attention in Wundt and Modern Cognitive Psychology,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 15, No. 3 (July 1979): 242–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 14.
    For “A Bibliography of the Scientific Writings of Wilhelm Wundt” up to 1905, see E.B. Titchener and L.R. Geissler, American Journal of Psychology, 19 (October 1908): 541–556. For essays and bibliographies on not only Wundt, but also Kant, Herbart, and Brentano.Google Scholar
  30. 14a.
    see Benjamin B. Wolman, ed., Historical Roots of Contemporary Psychology (New York: Harper and Row, 1968). Early overviews of Wundt’s work are: Edmund König, Wilhelm Wundt als Psycholog und als Philosoph (Stuttgart: Fr. Fromanns Verlag (E. Hauff), 1902); Willi Nef, Die Philosophie Wilhelm Wundts (Leipzig: Felix Meiner, 1923).Google Scholar
  31. 14b.
    and Arthur Hoffmann-Erfurt, ed., Wilhelm Wundt: Eine Würdigung (Erfurt: Kurt Stenger, 1924).Google Scholar
  32. 14c.
    For the centennial of the founding of his laboratory, a series of publications about Wundt were published: R.W. Rieber, ed., Wilhelm Wundt and the Making of a Scientific Psychology (New York and London: Plenum Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  33. 14d.
    Alfred Arnold, Wilhelm Wundt: Sein philosophisches System (Berlin: Akademie, 1980).Google Scholar
  34. 14e.
    and Daniel N. Robinson, Toward a Science of Human Nature: Essays on the Psychologies of Mill, Hegel, Wundt, and James (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  35. 22.
    Alternate translations of “Völkerpsychologie” are “folk psychology” and “the psychology of culture.” The objections to the first of these are obvious; the second alternative sounds too much like empiricism, and so we will retain the coinage “psychology of peoples.” This will avoid associations of Wundt’s work with strict physiology or empiricism, such as it is represented in “Scientific and Philosophical Psychology: A Historical Introduction,” by Theodore Mischel, in Human Action: Conceptual and Empirical Issues, ed. Mischel (New York: Academic Press, 1969): 1–40; this essay tends to ignore the reciprocal effects between the environment and the group that my coinage is intended to suggest.Google Scholar
  36. 23.
    See again Danziger, especially “Origins and Basic Principles of Wundt’s Völkerpsychologie,” op. cit., and the article by James in R.W. Rieber, op. cit.Google Scholar
  37. 24.
    Secondary literature on Paul outside of the realm of philology is rare. One early evidence of his influence is H. A. Strong, W. S. Logeman, and B. I. Wheeler, Introduction to the Study of the History of Language (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1891).Google Scholar
  38. 24a.
    The best introduction to the Neogrammarians is Winfred P. Lehmann, ed., A Reader in Nineteenth-Century Historical Indo-European Linguistics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1967), which includes introductions and translations of important texts. Hans Arens, Sprachwissenschaft (op. cit.), does the same thing (with alternate selections) in German. The selections included in Arthur L. Blumenthal, Language and Psychology: Historical Aspects of Psycholinguistics (op. cit.), introduce Paul as a disciple of Wundt, which unfortunately does not correspond to the chains of influence in philology in the second half of the nineteenth century.Google Scholar
  39. 24b.
    For a discussion of the interrelations of philology and psychology in the latter nineteenth century, see Elizabeth Knoll, “The Science of Language and the Evolution of Mind: Max Müller’s Quarrel with Darwinism,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 22 (January 1986): 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 25.
    This parallels the definition of language as a means for social communication found in George H. Mead, Mind, Self and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934), esp. pp. 14 ff. In Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1936), Mead draws in this definition of society as a set of individuals in communication, relying indirectly on the Neogrammarians. In both cases, however, Mead is not interested in the feedback between individuals and culture, but only in the link of individual minds the group.Google Scholar
  41. 28.
    Wundt’s work still had academic recognition, in the organismic school at Leipzig, well into the twentieth century. The vector was Felix Krüger; see Ulfried Geuter, Die Professionalisierung der deutschen Psychologie im National-Sozialismus (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1984). This school, however, did not pursue Wundt’s cultural work in a way which significantly effected the humanities.Google Scholar
  42. 29.
    See, particularly, the article by William R. Woodward in The Problematic Science, op. citGoogle Scholar
  43. 30.
    For an account of de Saussure’s position in the development of nineteenth-century philology, see E.F.K. Koerner, Ferdinand de Saussure: Origin and Development of his Linguistic Theory in Western Studies of Language (diss. Vancouver, B.C.: Simon Fraser University, 1971).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Arens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Germanic LanguagesUniversity of TexasAustinUSA

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