Psychologism the Philosophical Shibboleth

Philosophy and Rhetoric 30 (3):312 - 331 (1997)
Psychologism is the target of vehement disapproval in much of mainstream philosophy from Kant to the present day. Yet although antipsychologistic rhetoric is adamant, there is little substantive argument against psychologism to be discovered in contemporary discussions of the problem. Many recent influential philosophical projects, moreover, including intuitionistic logic, conceptualism in the ontology of mathematics and the program to naturalize epistemology, are in different ways efforts to apply modern psychology in the service of philosophical theory. In this essay, I critically survey the history of attacks on psychologism and conclude with a refutation of eight of the most important objections of the theory. My purpose is both to try to clarify the concept of psychologism and to encourage a renewed dialectical interaction between proponents and opponents of the philosophical merits of psychologism
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