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(2009) Psychology and philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer.

Psychology in philosophy

historical perspectives

Gary Hatfield

pp. 1-25

The chapter examines some common assumptions regarding the shape of the history of theories of mind. It questions the conception that the Scientific Revolution resulted in placing the mind "outside of nature." During the seventeenth century, the followers of Descartes routinely placed study of the mind, or, at least, mind–body interaction, within "physics" considered as a science of nature in general (and so including physics in the narrow sense, biology, and psychology). By the end of the eighteenth century, many authors treated the psychological and the physical as distinct areas of investigation (with points of contact, to be sure), both amenable to natural scientific study. Another assumption is that, prior to behaviorism, the notion of "the psychological" was equivalent to "the mental." And yet, during the seventeenth century psychological phenomena were assigned to both sides of the mind–body divide: the Cartesians and their allies offered (nonmentalistic) mechanistic explanations for the sensory and behavioral capacities that human beings share with animals, while also holding that some aspects of mental life (including consciousness, free will, conceptual language, and general intelligence) require an immaterial mind. Finally, from the late eighteenth century onward, some have maintained that if mental states are reached only by introspection then they cannot be studied objectively. The chapter argues that the standard version of this objection misunderstands the nature of introspection, and it mounts a reply founded on Wundt's methodological discussions and making reference to the perceptual investigations of the Gestalt psychologists.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-8582-6_1

Full citation:

Hatfield, G. (2009)., Psychology in philosophy: historical perspectives, in S. Heinämaa & M. Reuter (eds.), Psychology and philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 1-25.

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