Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1.
the psychical objects in the way in which physics describes and explains the physical objects.  On the other hand, if it means in this central position of mental sciences a science which does not consider the inner life as an object, but as subjective activity needing to be interpreted and subjectively understood, not as to its elements, but as to its meaning, then we should have two kinds of psychology, one which explains and one which interprets.  They would speak of different facts, the one of the inner life as objective content of consciousness, as phenomenon, the other of the inner life as subjective attitude, as purpose.

The fact is, that these two sciences exist to-day.  There are psychologists who recognize both and keep them separated, others who hold to the one or the other as the only possible view; they are phenomenalists or voluntarists.  Mostly both views are combined, either as psychological voluntarism with interposed concessions to phenomenalism or as phenomenalism with the well-known concessions to voluntarism at the deciding points.  Further, those who claim that psychology must be phenomenalistic—­and that is the opinion of the present writer—­do not on that account hold that the propositions of voluntarism are wrong.  On the contrary:  voluntarism, we say, is right in every respect except in believing itself to be psychology.  Voluntarism, we say, is the interpretative account of the real life, of immediate experience, whose reality is understood by understanding its meaning sympathetically, but we add that in this way an objective description can never be reached.  Description presupposes objectivation; another aspect, not the natural aspect of life, must be chosen to fulfill the logical purposes of psychology:  the voluntaristic inner life must be considered as content of consciousness while consciousness is then no longer an active subject but a passive spectator.  Experience has then no longer any meaning in a voluntaristic sense; it is merely a complex of elements.  We claim that every voluntaristic system as far as it offers descriptions and explanations has borrowed them from phenomenalistic psychology and is further filled up by fragments of logic, ethics and aesthetics, all of which refer to man in his voluntaristic aspect.  We claim, therefore, that such a voluntaristic theory has no right to the name psychology, while we insist that it gives a more direct account of man’s real life than psychology can hope to give, and, moreover, that it is the voluntaristic man whose purpose creates knowledge and thus creates the phenomenalistic aspect of man himself.

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Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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