Katharina Kraus
University of Notre Dame
This paper examines whether Kant’s Critical philosophy offers resources for a conception of empirical psychology as a theoretical science in its own right, rather than as a part of applied moral philosophy or of pragmatic anthropology. In contrast to current interpretations, this paper argues that Kant’s conception of inner experience provides relevant resources for the theoretical foundation of scientific psychology, in particular with respect to its subject matter and its methodological presuppositions. Central to this interpretation is the regulative idea of the soul, which supplies principles of systematicity at different levels. Firstly, the idea defines the way in which we must reflect on mental beings, i.e., those beings that fall in the domain of psychology. Secondly, it provides a principle for the unification of a systematic body of psychological laws. In consequence, by approaching the object of psychology from the perspective of the self-conscious subject, who––in virtue of being capable of inner experience––first constitutes a psychological reality, Kant’s theory offers an attractive alternative to reductionist conceptions of psychology.
Keywords Kant  Psychology  Idea of a Sciences  Systematicity  Soul
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2017.11.010
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