From Psychologism to Psychologization: Edmund Husserl’s Life-World Revisited



The modern subject, as it saw light with Descartes, seeks its ontological ground in the act of thinking and doubting.1 Since the Enlightenment, our being in the world, and our being as such, articulates with knowledge. But in order to ensure that this individual sphere of reasoning makes sense and transcends the risk of solipsism, Descartes still put forward the figure of God to make possible a shared knowledge of the world. The mere fact that God was needed as a guarantee shows how both the subject and the world become problematic in modernity. When the Radical Enlightenment declared God dead, scientific knowledge not only inherited his transcendent character (scientific knowledge transcends the individual who can never fully comprehend or assess it), it also, like God, had to seek its ultimate ground in itself. One can easily argue that it is here that the psy-sciences came in. Just consider the debate over so-called psychologism in the 19th century. As logic had to provide the base for scientific knowledge, there was an attempt to ground logic itself in the human psychology. Hence, if as argued in the previous chapter, psychology was to connect the human being with a secularized and objectified world, psychology had to be both a science and something more. It had to be the cornerstone of science as a whole.


Lifelong Learning Vantage Point Modern Science Objective Science Knowledge Society 
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© Jan De Vos 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Moral ScienceGhent UniversityBelgium

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