David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Dissertation, Indiana University, Bloomington (2007)
The concept of empiricism evokes both a historical tradition and a set of philosophical theses. The theses are usually understood to have been developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. But these figures did not use the term “empiricism,” and they did not see themselves as united by a shared epistemology into one school of thought. My dissertation analyzes the debate that elevated the concept of empiricism (and of an empiricist tradition) to prominence in English-language philosophy. In the 1870s and ’80s a lively debate about psychology emerged. Neo-Kantian idealists criticized the very idea that the mind can be studied scientifically. A group of philosopher-psychologists responded, often in Mind. They were among the first to call themselves “empiricists,” arguing that psychology could provide a scientific basis for philosophical progress. Idealists held that empirical psychology depended on premises developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. These premises were allegedly absurd because they rendered ideas of extension, as well as other ideas crucial to natural science, unreal. Those who wanted to advance psychology towards becoming a legitimate science were forced to engage these philosophical attacks, while at the same time to develop empirical theories that could successfully explain some characteristics of experience. I show how James’s theory of space perception accomplished both tasks. In developing this theory, James found he had to reject the Lockean notion that reality is associated with passively-registered sensations. James also abandoned Berkeley and Hume’s claim that ideas are ultimately derived from atomic sensations. Instead, James presented experimental evidence that sensation is a continuous stream. The mind must actively parse this stream if it is to gain a coherent representation of its environment. I argue that James’s stream-of-thought thesis served as a presupposition of his entire psychology. The thesis showed how the labor of investigating the mind could be divided between philosophers and scientists, and in a manner sensitive to the concerns of both. The stream thesis also provided a scientific basis for a new philosophical empiricism that, I argue, has a hidden legacy in the history of analytic philosophy.
|Keywords||William James Spatial Perception Hume Green Psychology Presuppositions Empiricism|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jeremy Carrette (2005). Pt. 2. James, Psychology and Religion. Listening to James a Century Later : The Varieties as a Resource for Renewing the Psychology of Religion / David M. Wulff ; the Varieties, the Principles and Psychology of Religion : Unremitting Inspiration From a Different Source / Jacob A. Belzen ; Passionate Belief : William James, Emotion and Religious Experience. [REVIEW] In Jeremy R. Carrette (ed.), William James and the Varieties of Religious Experience: A Centenary Celebration. Routledge
Thomas E. Uebel & Alan W. Richardson (eds.) (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Logical Empiricism. Cambridge University Press.
William James (2000). Pragmatism and Other Writings. Penguin Books.
Joseph T. Palencik (2007). William James and the Psychology of Emotions: From 1884 to the Present. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 43 (4):769 - 786.
Kaisa Puhakka (1992). Discovery as Seeing: Lessons From Radical Empiricism and Meditative Practice. Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 12 (1):48-58.
William James & Ralph Barton Perry (eds.) (1996). Essays in Radical Empiricism. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Tony Chemero (2003). Review of Ecological Psychology in Context: James Gibson, Roger Barker, and the Legacy of William James' Radical Empiricism. [REVIEW] Contemporary Psychology.
William James (1977). The Writings of William James: A Comprehensive Edition, Including an Annotated Bibliography Updated Through 1977. University of Chicago Press.
Eugene Taylor & Robert H. Wozniak (1996). Pure Experience: The Response to William James. In E. I. Taylor & R. H. Wozniak (eds.), Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society. Bristol: Thoemmes Press 338-341.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads138 ( #10,366 of 1,699,591 )
Recent downloads (6 months)35 ( #16,678 of 1,699,591 )
How can I increase my downloads?