In this article we present and compare two early attempts to establish psychology as an independent scientific discipline that had considerable influence in central Europe: the theories of Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776—1841) and Franz Brentano (1838—1917). While both of them emphasize that psychology ought to be conceived as an empirical science, their conceptions show revealing differences. Herbart starts with metaphysical principles and aims at mathematizing psychology, whereas Brentano rejects all metaphysics and bases his method on a conception of inner perception (...) (as opposed to inner observation) as a secondary consciousness, by means of which one gets to be aware of all of one’s own conscious phenomena. Brentano’s focus on inner perception brings him to deny the claim that there could be unconscious mental phenomena — a view that stands in sharp contrast to Herbart’s emphasis on unconscious, ‘repressed’ presentations as a core element of his mechanics of mind. Herbart, on the other hand, denies any role for psychological experiments, while Brentano encouraged laboratory work, thus paving the road for the more experimental work of his students like Stumpf and Meinong. By briefly tracing the fate of the schools of Herbart and Brentano, respectively, we aim to illustrate their impact on the development of psychological research, mainly in central Europe. (shrink)
A team of leading scholars have been brought together in this impressive book to examine how works of literary fiction can be a source of knowledge. Together, they analyze the important trends in this current popular debate.
Anti-reductionist philosophers have often argued that mental and linguistic phenomena contain an intrinsically normative element that cannot be captured by the natural sciences which focus on causal rather than rational relations. This line of reasoning raises the questions of how reasons could evolve in a world of causes and how children can be acculturated to participate in rule-governed social practices. In this paper I will sketch a Wittgensteinian answer to these questions. I will first point out that throughout his later (...) philosophy Wittgenstein draws a sharp distinction between "teaching" and "training": newly-born children are trained (conditioned) to react to specific stimuli in specific ways, which then allows them to acquire concepts and follow rules. I will then show that this picture presupposes a strong analogy between concepts and capacities, which is also present in Wittgenstein's later philosophy. In the last section I will point out that Wittgenstein only discusses the ontogenetic question of how individual children can acquire speech, but not the phylogenetic question of how rule-governed behavior could evolve in the first place. I will argue that this strategy should not be seen as a shortcoming, but rather as an expression of Wittgenstein's approach that can be characterized as naturalistic in a wide sense. (shrink)
Through the work of philosophers like Sellars, Davidson, and McDowell, the question of how the mind is related to the world has gained new importance in contemporary analytic philosophy. This book demonstrates that Husserl's phenomenological analyses of the structure of consciousness can provide fruitful insights for developing an original approach to these questions.
Both Husserl and Haugeland develop an account of constitution to address the question of how our mental episodes can be about physical objects and thus, through the intentional relation, bridge the gap between the mental and the physical. The respective theories of the two philosophers of very different background show not only how mental episodes can have empirical content, but also how this content is shaped by past experiences or a holistic background of other mental episodes. In this article I (...) first outline and then contrast their positions in order to show how the notion of constitution can be adopted to address major problems of contemporary philosophy of mind, especially the question of how the mind can be related to its physical environment. (shrink)