Reflections on the Status and Direction of Psychology: An External Historical Perspective

Whenever one reads internal histories of psychology what is covered is the establishment of a lab by Wundt in 1879 as the initiating act and then the breakaway movements of the 20th Century are discussed: Behaviorism, Gestalt Theory, Psychoanalysis, and most recently the Cognitive revival. However, Aron Gurwitsch described a perspective noted by Cassirer and first developed by Malebranche, which dates the founding of psychology at the same time as that of physics in the 17th Century. This external perspective shows the dependency of psychology upon the concepts, methods and procedures of physics and the natural sciences in general up until the present time. Gurwitsch argues that this approach has blocked the growth of psychology and has assured its status as a minor science. He argued that the everyday Lifeworld achievements of subjectivity are the true subject matter of psychology and that a phenomenological approach to subjectivity could give psychology the authenticity it has been forever seeking but never finding as a naturalistic science. Some clarifying thoughts concerning this phenomenologically grounded psychology are offered, especially the role of desire. The assumption of an external perspective toward the history of psychology fostered the insights about psychology’s scientific role
Keywords critique of natural science approach.   essence of psychological perspective   phenomenology   history of psychology   subjectivity
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/15691624-12341257
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 44,340
External links

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

The Savage Mind.Alasdair MacIntyre & Claude Levi-Strauss - 1967 - Philosophical Quarterly 17 (69):372.
Locke: His Philosophical Thought.Nicholas Jolley - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
The Search After Truth.Nicholas Malebranche, Thomas M. Lennon & Paul J. Olscamp - 1982 - Philosophy of Science 49 (1):146-147.
The Search After Truth.Nicolas Malebranche - 1991 - In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Reading Jung with Heidegger.Matthew Gildersleeve - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Queensland

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Phenomenology and Sports Psychology: Back To The Things Themselves!Mark Nesti - 2011 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 5 (3):285 - 296.
Psychology in India: A Historical Perspective.D. Sinha - 1987 - In G. H. Blowers & Alison M. Turtle (eds.), Psychology Moving East: The Status of Western Psychology in Asia and Oceania. Sydney University Press. pp. 39--52.
Subjectivity and the Limits of Narrative.Joseph Neisser - 2008 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (2):51-66.
Buddhism & Western Psychology: Fundamentals of Integration.William Mikulas - 2007 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (4):4-49.
Historical Kinds and the "Special Sciences".Ruth G. Millikan - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):45-65.


Added to PP index

Total views
27 ( #323,734 of 2,271,598 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #208,575 of 2,271,598 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature