Psychology, a Post-Cartesian Discipline: La Mettrie and the Perverse Core of the Psy-sciences



The birth of the discipline of psychology is commonly situated in the Enlightenment and connected to René Descartes’ basic move of dividing the soul from the body, reason from unreason and normality from madness (Parker, 1995, p. 12).1 This modern subject and his modern mind could not but give rise to the discipline of psychology that was to emancipate itself from the broader terrain of philosophy. From a critical point of view, one can argue that the modern psychological subject is foremost a construction. The Cartesian demarche can furthermore be said to have led to the opposition individual/social becoming primordial; the point of departure for the psy-complex, the dispersed network of institutions, to individualize all sorts of problems (Parker, 1995, p. 61).


Zero Level Late Modernity Cartesian Dualism Natural Psychology Modern Subject 
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© Jan De Vos 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Moral ScienceGhent UniversityBelgium

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