On Hume on space: Green's attack, James' empirical response

Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (3):pp. 415-449 (2009)
Abstract
ABSTRACT. Associationist psychologists of the late 19th-century premised their research on a fundamentally Humean picture of the mind. So the very idea of mental science was called into question when T. H. Green, a founder of British idealism, wrote an influential attack on Hume’s Treatise. I first analyze Green’s interpretation and criticism of Hume, situating his reading with respect to more recent Hume scholarship. I focus on Green’s argument that Hume cannot consistently admit real ideas of spatial relations. I then argue that William James’s early work on spatial perception attempted to vindicate the new science of mind by showing how to avoid the problems Green had exposed in Hume’s empiricism. James’s solution involved rejecting a basic Humean assumption—that perceptual experience is fundamentally composed of so-called minima sensibilia, or psychological atoms. The claim that there are no psychological atoms is interesting because James supported it with experimental data rather than (as commentators typically suppose) with introspective description or a priori argument. James claimed to be the real descendant of British empiricism on grounds that his anti-atomistic model of perception fortified what Green had perhaps most wanted to demolish—the prospect of using empirical, scientific methods in the study of mind.
Keywords Spatial Perception  Experiment  Hume  William James  T. H. Green  Empiricism  Psychology  Philosophy of Psychology  Vision
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0137
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Darwin, Hume, Morgan, and the Verae Causae of Psychology.Hayley Clatterbuck - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60:1-14.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index
2009-07-22

Total downloads
406 ( #6,326 of 2,191,999 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
44 ( #3,190 of 2,191,999 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature