Let psychologism be the doctrine that whether behavior is intelligent behavior depends on the character of the internal information processing that produces it. More specifically, I mean psychologism to involve the doctrine that two systems could have actual and potential behavior _typical_ of familiar intelligent beings, that the two systems could be exactly alike in their actual and potential behavior, and in their behavioral dispositions and capacities and counterfactual behavioral properties (i.e., what behaviors, behavioral dispositions, and behavioral capacities (...) they would have exhibited had their stimuli differed)--the two systems could be alike in all these ways, yet there could be a difference in the information processing that mediates their stimuli and responses that determines that one is not at all intelligent while the other is fully intelligent. (shrink)
In the 1890's, when fields such as psychology and philosophy were just emerging, turf wars between the disciplines were common-place. Philosophers widely discounted the possibility that psychology's claim to empirical truth had anything relevant to offer their field. And psychologists, such as the crazed and eccentric Otto Weinegger, often considered themselves philosophers. Freud, it is held, was deeply influenced by his wife, Martha's, uncle, who was also a philosopher. The tension between the fields persisted, until the two fields eventually matured (...) and grew apart. Until the publication of Martin Kursch's masterly work Psychologism , few philosophers and psychologists have attended to their originally unhappy, turn-of-the-century engagement. Martin Kusch explores the origins of psychologism in Germany and fin de siecle Vienna by examining two major figures of twentieth century philosophy: Frege and Husserl. As one of the few serious works on Frege, Kusch trenchantly and clearly reconstructs the debate and the context in which it flourished. Psychologism will prove to be a key work of intellectual history on a subject which has largely been overlooked and, above all, understudied. (shrink)
This paper is about the topic of psychologism in the work of Kazimierz Twardowski and my aim is to revisit this important issue in light of recent publications from, and on Twardowski’s works. I will first examine the genesis of psychologism in the young Twardowski’s work; secondly, I will examine Twardowski’s picture theory of meaning and Husserl’s criticism in Logical Investigations; the third part is about Twardowski’s recognition and criticism of his psychologism in his lectures on the (...) psychology of thinking; the fourth and fifth parts provide an overview of Twardowski’s paper “Actions and Products” while the sixth part addresses the psychologism issue in the last part of this paper through the delineation of psychology and the humanities. I shall conclude this study with a brief assessment of Twardowski’s solution to psychologism. (shrink)
In the past few years, a number of philosophers ; Horgan and Tienson 2002; Pitt 2004) have maintained the following three theses: there is a distinctive sort of phenomenology characteristic of conscious thought, as opposed to other sorts of conscious mental states; different conscious thoughts have different phenomenologies; and thoughts with the same phenomenology have the same intentional content. The last of these three claims is open to at least two different interpretations. It might mean that the phenomenology of a (...) thought expresses its intentional content, where intentional content is understood as propositional, and propositions are understood as mind-and language-independent abstract entities. And it might mean that the phenomenology of a thought is its intentional content—that is, that the phenomenology of a thought, like the phenomenology of a sensation, constitutes its content. The second sort of view is a kind of psychologism. Psychologistic views hold that one or another sort of thing—numbers, sentences, propositions, etc.—that we can think or know about is in fact a kind of mental thing. Since Frege, psychologism has been in bad repute among analytic philosophers. It is widely held that Frege showed that such views are untenable, since, among other things, they subjectivize what is in fact objective, and, hence, relativize such things as consistency and truth to the peculiarities of human psychology. The purpose of this paper is to explore the consequences of the thesis that intentional mental content is phenomenological and to try to reach a conclusion about whether it yields a tenable view of mind, thought and meaning. I believe the thesis is not so obviously wrong as it will strike many philosophers of mind and language. In fact, it can be defended against the standard objections to psychologism, and it can provide the basis for a novel and interesting account of mentality. (shrink)
The end of the nineteenth century is remembered as a time when psychology freed itself from philosophy and carved out an autonomous subject matter for itself. In fact, this time of emancipation was also a time of exile: while the psychologists were leaving, philosophers were slamming the door behind them. Frege is celebrated for having demonstrated the irrelevance of psychological considerations to philosophy. Some of Frege’s reasons for distinguishing psychological questions from philosophical ones were sound, but one of Frege’s most (...) influential arguments, which was elaborated upon and advocated by the positivists, vastly overestimated the gap separating the two disciplines. (shrink)
What sorts of things can be evidence for belief? Five answers have been defended in the recent literature on the ontology of evidence: propositions, facts, psychological states, factive psychological states, all of the above. Each of the first three views privileges a single role that the evidence plays in our doxastic lives, at the cost of occluding other important roles. The fifth view, pluralism, is a natural response to such dubious favouritism. If we want to be monists about evidence and (...) accommodate all roles for the concept, we need to think of evidence as propositional, psychological and factive. Our only present option along these lines is the fourth view, which holds that evidence consists of all and only known propositions. But the view comes with some fairly radical commitments. This paper proposes a more modest view—‘truthy psychologism’. According to this view, evidence is also propositional, psychological and factive; but we don’t need the stronger claim that only knowledge can fill this role; true beliefs are enough. I first argue for truthy psychologism by appeal to some standard metaethical considerations. I then show that the view can accommodate all of the roles epistemologists have envisaged for the concept of evidence. Truthy psychologism thus gives us everything we want from the evidence, without forcing us to go either pluralist or radical. (shrink)
This paper argues that a class of popular views of collective intention, which I call “quasi-psychologism”, faces a problem explaining common intuitions about collective action. Views in this class hold that collective intentions are realized in or constituted by individual, mental, participatory intentions. I argue that this metaphysical commitment entails persistence conditions that are in tension with a purported obligation to notify co-actors before leaving a collective action attested to by participants in experimental research about the interpersonal normativity of (...) collective action. I then explore the possibilities open to quasi-psychologists for responding to this research. (shrink)
Many think that sentences about what metaphysically explains what are true iff there exist grounding relations. This suggests that sceptics about grounding should be error theorists about metaphysical explanation. We think there is a better option: a theory of metaphysical explanation which offers truth conditions for claims about what metaphysically explains what that are not couched in terms of grounding relations, but are instead couched in terms of, inter alia, psychological facts. We do not argue that our account is superior (...) to grounding-based accounts. Rather, we offer it to those already ill-disposed towards grounding. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of whether Mill's account of the nature and justificatory foundations of deductive logic is psychologistic. Logical psychologism asserts the dependency of logic on psychology. Frequently, this dependency arises as a result of a metaphysical thesis asserting the psychological nature of the subject matter of logic. A study of Mill's System of Logic and his Examination reveals that Mill held an equivocal view of the subject matter of logic, sometimes treating it as a set of (...) psychological processes and at other times as the objects of those processes. The consequences of each of these views upon the justificatory foundations of logic are explored. The paper concludes that, despite his providing logic with a prescriptive function, and despite his avoidance of conceptualism, Mill's theory fails to provide deductive logic with a justificatory foundation that is independent of psychology. (shrink)
Jonathan Dancy’s Practical Reality is, I think, best understood as an attempt to undermine our allegiance to these two purported constitutive claims about action. If we must think that psychological states figure in the explanation of action then, according to Dancy, we should suppose that those psychological states are beliefs rather than desire-belief pairs. Dancy thus prefers pure cognitivism to Humeanism. But in fact he thinks that we have no business accepting any form of psychologism in the first place; (...) no business accepting a theory that explains an agent’s actions by reference to that agent’s psychological states. For though it is indeed a truism that actions are explained by reasons, Dancy argues that psychological states are only rarely, if ever, reasons. He thus prefers the unadorned normative story, a story which contents itself with explaining actions by laying out the considerations in the light of which the agent acted as he did, to any form of psychologism. I will consider Dancy’s arguments for these claims in turn. (shrink)
Aspects of Psychologism is a penetrating look into fundamental philosophical questions of consciousness, perception, and the experience we have of our mental lives. Psychologism, in Tim Crane’s formulation, presents the mind as a single subject-matter to be investigated not only empirically and conceptually but also phenomenologically: through the systematic examination of consciousness and thought from the subject’s point of view.
When is an artwork complete? Most hold that the correct answer to this question is psychological in nature. A work is said to be complete just in case the artist regards it as complete or is appropriately disposed to act as if he or she did. Even though this view seems strongly supported by metaphysical, epistemological, and normative considerations, this article argues that such psychologism about completeness is mistaken, fundamentally, because it cannot make sense of the artist's own perspective (...) on his or her work. For the artist, the question is not about his or her own psychology, but about the character of the work and the context in which he or she works. A nonpsychological account of completeness, on which completeness is a question of whether the work satisfies the conditions implicit in the artist's plan, avoids this problem and is equally or better able to explain the metaphysical, epistemic, and normative phenomena which appeared to support psychologism. (shrink)
The term ‘psychologism’ is normally used for the doctrine that logical and mathematical truths must be explained in terms of psychological truths (see Kusch 1995 and 2011). As such, the term is typically pejorative: the widespread consensus is that psychologism in this sense is a paradigm of philosophical error, a gross mistake that was identified and conclusively refuted by Frege and Husserl.
The question of the psychologism of the theory of number developed by Husserl in his Philosophy of Arithmetic has long been debated, but it cannot be considered fully resolved. In this paper, I address the issue from a new point of view. My claim is that in the Philosophy of Arithmetic, Husserl made, albeit indirectly, a series of arguments that are worth reconstructing and clarifying since they are useful in shedding some light on the psychologism issue. More specifically, (...) I maintain that the clarification of these arguments, along with other arguments that Husserl presented against alternative theories of number as well as with some contemporary distinctions concerning the notion of ontological dependence, allows us to determine that Husserl’s theory of number is psychologistic in a minimal and precise sense: it entails a generic ontological dependence of numbers upon the mind. (shrink)
The intuition that we can think about non-existent objects seems to be in tension with philosophical concerns about the relationality of intentionality. Tim Crane’s psychologism removes this tension by proposing a psychologistic account of intentionality according to which intentionality is a purely non-relational notion. I argue that his account has counterintuitive consequences regarding our thoughts about existing objects, and as such is insufficiently plausible to convince us to reject the relationality of intentionality.
The most plausible of Yarkoni's paths to recovery for psychology is the least radical one: psychologists need truly quantitative methods that exploit the informational power of variance and heterogeneity in multiple variables. If they drop ambitions to explain entire behaviors, they could find a box full of design and econometric tools in the parts of experimental economics that don't ape psychology.
Acknowledgments -- The legal floor and positive ethics -- Foundations of ethical behavior -- Ethical decision making -- Competence -- Informed consent, empowered collaboration, or shared decision making -- Multiple relationships and professional boundaries -- Confidentiality, privileged communications, and record keeping -- Life-endangering patients -- Forensic psychology -- Assessment -- Special topics in psychotherapy -- Business issues -- Psychologists as educators -- Consultation and clinical supervision -- Research and scholarship -- Afterwaord -- References -- Index -- About the authors.
Psychologism in logic holds that logic is a branch of psychology. This view has been vigorously defended by John Stuart Mill and by a number of German philosophers of logic, notably Erdmann. Its chief critics have been Husserl and Frege and, to a lesser extent, Russell. Husserl set forth a profound and detailed critique of psychologism in Logical Investigations. This paper examines this critique. First, I explain why the psychologistic theory is attractive. Then I show that Husserl's critique (...) is not convincing, partly because he does not take the theory in its most plausible form and partly because he ignores certain important distinctions (for example, between what a statement is about and what it is true in virtue of). Then I raise two new objections to the psychologistic theory. The purpose of this paper is to suggest that the psychologistic theory remains an important and serious position from which we can learn much about the status of logic. (shrink)
Psychologism is the target of vehement disapproval in much of mainstream philosophy from Kant to the present day. Yet although antipsychologistic rhetoric is adamant, there is little substantive argument against psychologism to be discovered in contemporary discussions of the problem. Many recent influential philosophical projects, moreover, including intuitionistic logic, conceptualism in the ontology of mathematics and the program to naturalize epistemology, are in different ways efforts to apply modern psychology in the service of philosophical theory. In this essay, (...) I critically survey the history of attacks on psychologism and conclude with a refutation of eight of the most important objections of the theory. My purpose is both to try to clarify the concept of psychologism and to encourage a renewed dialectical interaction between proponents and opponents of the philosophical merits of psychologism. (shrink)
Husserl and Frege did not criticize psychologism on the ground that it deduced the norms of logic from non-normative premises (naturalistic fallacy), as is often supposed. Rather, their refutation of psychologism assumes that such a deduction is possible. Husserl compared the rules of logic to those of technology, on the supposition that they have a purely theoretical basis. This conception of logic is critically examined, and it is argued (contra Follesdal) that Frege held a similar view.
This paper examines two arguments againstpsychologism advanced by Frege andHusserl. The first argument says that thelaws of logic cannot be justified by thelaws of psychology, because the formerand a priori and certain, but the latterare probable only. The second argumentpoints out that the status of logicallaws as universal principles of thinking isnot intelligible on the psychologisticinterpretation of logic. The author tries toshow how to examine both arguments bymetalogical devices.
Corcoran, J. 2007. Psychologism. American Philosophy: an Encyclopedia. Eds. John Lachs and Robert Talisse. New York: Routledge. Pages 628-9. -/- Psychologism with respect to a given branch of knowledge, in the broadest neutral sense, is the view that the branch is ultimately reducible to, or at least is essentially dependent on, psychology. The parallel with logicism is incomplete. Logicism with respect to a given branch of knowledge is the view that the branch is ultimately reducible to logic. Every (...) branch of knowledge depends on logic. Psychologism is found in several fields including history, political science, economics, ethics, epistemology, linguistics, aesthetics, mathematics, and logic. Logicism is found mainly in branches of mathematics: number theory, analysis, and, more rarely, geometry. Although the ambiguous term ‘psychologism’ has senses with entirely descriptive connotations, it is widely used in senses that are derogatory. No writers with any appreciation of this point will label their own views as psychologistic. It is usually used pejoratively by people who disapprove of psychologism. The term ‘scientism’ is similar in that it too has both pejorative and descriptive senses but its descriptive senses are rarely used any more. It is almost a law of linguistics that the negative connotations tend to drive out the neutral and the positive. Dictionaries sometimes mark both words with a usage label such as “Usually disparaging”. In this article, the word is used descriptively mainly because there are many psychologistic views that are perfectly respectable and even endorsed by people who would be offended to have their views labeled psychologism. A person who subscribes to logicism is called a logicist, but there is no standard word for a person who subscribes to psychologism. ‘Psychologist’, which is not suitable, occurs in this sense. ‘Psychologician’, with stress on the second syllable as in ‘psychologist’, has been proposed. In the last century, some of the most prominent forms of psychologism pertained to logic; the rest of this article treats only such forms. Psychologism in logic is very “natural”. After all, logic studies reasoning, which is done by the mind, whose nature and functioning is studied in psychology—using the word ‘psychology’ in its broadest etymological sense. (shrink)
Psychologism is the view that practical reasons are psychological states. It is widely thought that psychologism is supported by the following principle governing explanation: TF. The difference between false and true beliefs on A's part cannot alter the form of the explanation which will be appropriate to A's actions. (TF) seems to imply that we always need to cite agents' beliefs when explaining their actions, no matter whether those beliefs are true or false. And this seems to vindicate (...)psychologism. I argue, however, that the standard argument for psychologism which includes (TF) as a premise in fact fails to establish its intended conclusion. As a result, the overall case for psychologism is not as strong as it may initially seem. (shrink)
Many philosophers of science follow Hempel in embracing both substantive and methodological anti-psychologism regarding the study of explanation. The former thesis denies that explanations are constituted by psychological events, and the latter denies that psychological research can contribute much to the philosophical investigation of the nature of explanation. Substantive anti-psychologism is commonly defended by citing cases, such as hyper-complex descriptions or vast computer simulations, which are reputedly generally agreed to constitute explanations but which defy human comprehension and, as (...) a result, fail to engender any relevant psychological events. It is commonly held that the truth of the substantive thesis would lend support to the methodological thesis. However, the standard argument for the substantive thesis presumes that philosophers’ own judgments about the aforementioned cases issues from mastery of the lay or scientific norms regarding the use of ‘explanation.’ Here we challenge this presumption with a series of experiments indicating that both lay and scientific populations require of explanations that they actually render their targets intelligible. This research not only undermines a standard line of argument for substantive anti-psychologism, it demonstrates the utility of psychological research methods for answering meta-questions about the norms regarding the use of ‘explanation.’. (shrink)
Hume’s account of causation is often regarded a challenge Kant must overcome if the Critical philosophy is to be successful. But from Kant’s time to the present, Hume’s denial of our ability to cognize supersensible objects, a denial that relies heavily on his account of causation, has also been regarded as a forerunner to Kant’s critique of metaphysics. After identifying reasons for rejecting Wayne Waxman’s recent account of Kant’s debt to Hume, I present my own, more modest account of this (...) debt, an account that seeks to unite the two very different pictures of Kant’s relationship to Hume sketched above. (shrink)
This article examines the development of Russell's treatment of propositions, in relation to the topic of psychologism. In the first section, we outline the concept of psychologism, and show how it can arise in relation to theories of the nature of propositions. Following this, we note the anti-psychologistic elements of Russell's thought dating back to his idealist roots. From there, we sketch the development of Russell's theory of the proposition through a number of its key transitions. We show (...) that Russell, in responding to a variety of different problems relating to the proposition, chose to resolve these problems in ways that continually made concessions to psychologism. (shrink)
This book presents a remarkable diversity of contemporary opinions on the prospects of addressing philosophical topics from a psychological perspective. It considers the history and philosophical merits of psychologism, and looks systematically at psychologism in phenomenology, cognitive science, epistemology, logic, philosophy of language, philosophical semantics, and artificial intelligence.
ABSTRACTThis article introduces the challenges of providing psychological assessments of people seeking asylum in the wake of their reported torture. These challenges invite professionals to consider ontology and epistemology. Critical realism is well-positioned to underlabour for the process of understanding a human rights violation, in which the complainant is both the key, and often sole, witness and claimed victim. For instance, the layered reality of critical realism allows practitioners to use retroduction to describe deeper structures and mechanisms of torture. The (...) judgemental rationality of critical realism allows practitioners to distinguish between competing interpretations of the evidence. Critical realism also avoids both the positivistic assumption that assessors can be value-free; and the relativist social constructionist position that, because assessors cannot av... (shrink)
The last in a series of examinations, this paper articulates Husserl's mature position on the nature of a phenomenologically informed human science. Falling between the naïve positivity of a naturalistic approach to psychology and the transcendental view of consciousness at the base of phenomenological philosophy, we argue that a human scientific psychology—while not itself transcendental in nature needs to re-arise upon the transcendental ground as an empirical—but no longer transcendentally naïve—discipline through Husserl's notion of the "return to positivity." This notion (...) of the return allows us to avoid "transcendental psychologism," differentiating psychological from transcendental subjectivity but from a transcendental, rather than naïve perspective. In this way, the return to positivity reclaims psychology as a worldly, but no longer naïve, discipline. To facilitate an understanding of the different perspectives in question, and the process of leaving the naturalistic perspective in order to return to it once armed with a transcendental understanding and its associated tools, we continue to develop the illustrative example of anorexia provided in the first part of this series. In conclusion, we discuss the implications of this framework for transcendental reforms both of clinical practice and of psychological research. (shrink)
As Thomas Uebel has recently argued, some early logical positivists saw American pragmatism as a kindred form of scientific philosophy. They associated pragmatism with William James, whom they rightly saw as allied with Ernst Mach. But what apparently blocked sympathetic positivists from pursuing commonalities with American pragmatism was the concern that James advocated some form of psychologism, a view they thought could not do justice to the a priori. This paper argues that positivists were wrong to read James as (...) offering a psychologistic account of the a priori. They had encountered James by reading Pragmatism as translated by the unabashedly psychologistic Wilhelm Jerusalem. But in more technical works, James had actually developed a form of conventionalism that anticipated the so-called “relativized” a priori positivists themselves would independently develop. While positivists arrived at conventionalism largely through reflection on the exact sciences, though, James’s account of the a priori grew from his reflections on the biological evolution of cognition, particularly in the context of his Darwin-inspired critique of Herbert Spencer. (shrink)
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to talk to all those famous names you've read about in psychology? How and why did they get interested in psychology, and what makes them tick? Why was Eysenck so hostile to Freud? What was Skinner's problem with feelings? Psychologists on Psychology presents a fascinating snapshot of psychology's leading protagonists. The last century has seen radical changes in thinking and practice, and the arguments that drive this change are surprisingly deep. These (...) interviews give an insight into the conflicts and controversies at the heart of contemporary psychology, revealing a clash of visions of what human nature is all about. From Skinner to Chomsky, Eysenck to Damasio, Psychologists on Psychology is a unique collection of in-depth conversations with world-famous psychologists. (shrink)
The confusion between cognitive states and the content of cognitive states that gives rise to psychologism also gives rise to reverse psychologism. Weak reverse psychologism says that we can study cognitive states by studying content – for instance, that we can study the mind by studying linguistics or logic. This attitude is endemic in cognitive science and linguistic theory. Strong reverse psychologism says that we can generate cognitive states by giving computers representations that express the content (...) of cognitive states and that play a role in causing appropriate behaviour. This gives us strong representational, classical AI (REPSCAI), and I argue that it cannot succeed. This is not, as Searle claims in his Chinese Room Argument, because syntactic manipulation cannot generate content. Syntactic manipulation can generate content, and this is abundantly clear in the Chinese Room scenano. REPSCAI cannot succeed because inner content is not sufficient for cognition, even when the representations that carry the content play a role in generating appropriate behaviour. (shrink)
In Practical Reality, Jonathan Dancy argues that our reasons for action are not psychological states, but things we take to be facts about the world, and shows that the reasons themselves are not causes. Dancy concludes that intentional actions are not explained by beliefs and desires, and that explanations of action in terms of reasons are not causal explanations. I show that these further conclusions are unwarranted by sketching an alternative theory of reasons according to which what it is for (...) an action to be done for a reason is for certain beliefs and desires to cause the action. Our reasons for action are the contents of those beliefs and desires. This theory is not only compatible with the facts about reasons Dancy has established, but explains many things that Dancy’s theory does not account for. I make no claim here about the precise adequacy of the simplified theoretical definitions I present. My goal is to show that a systematic theory along these lines is a promising approach to understanding an important aspect of human nature. (shrink)
What is special about successful action explanation is that it reveals what the agent saw in her action. Most contemporary philosophers assume that this amounts to explanation in terms of the reason for which the agent acted. They also assume that such explanations conform to a realist picture of explanation. What is disputed is whether the reason is a psychological state or a normative state of affairs . I argue that neither psychological states nor their contents suffice to make actions (...) intelligible in the right way , while Anti-Psychologism can’t explain acting on bad reasons . The alternative that I propose, Proceduralism, has it that explaining an action requires simulating the agent’s practical deliberation. On this view, explanation is not grounded in reasons, and thereby avoids the problems with “bad” reasons that Anti-Psychologism faces. Instead, in simulating to the same conclusion as the agent, the “explainer” comes to see what the agent saw in her action, thereby satisfying the Reasonableness Constraint. Proceduralism requires giving up on the assumption that the reason for which the agent acts explains the action and on the realist picture of action explanation. In addition, it accounts for the incomprehension that explainers experience when they encounter “alien” psychologies – psychologies that are deeply different from their own. (shrink)