Toward a Science of Human Nature: Essays on the Psychologies of Mill, Hegel, Wundt, and James

By Daniel N. Robinson | Go to book overview

4. WILHELM WUNDT

The contemporary intellectual community is far less familiar with the works of Wundt than with those of Mill and Hegel. He was, however, a more prolific writer than either and, for several decades, at least as influential among those who took psychology as their principal interest. He is also a more recent figure whose long life ( 1832-1920) bracketed the most fertile productions of the nineteenth century and the twentieth century's growing suspicion toward these very productions. His scholarship was as inexhaustible as it was far ranging -- logic, philosophy, physiology, psychology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology each receiving specific and original attention in his books and essays.. As E. G. Boring notes, Wundt's literary career ( 1853-1920) yielded more than 50,000 pages, "about one word every two minutes, day and night, for the entire sixty-eight years." 1 But he did not only write; he also read and was on intimate terms with both the technical and the theoretical sides of nineteenth-century science. His academic training included study with Johannes Müller and du Bois-Reymond at Berlin and with Helmholtz at Heidelberg. But neither his degree in medicine nor his apprenticeships and appointments in physiology anticipated the essentially philosophical approach he would bring to bear upon psychological issues. If, as is often averred, he was responsible for psychology's first experimental laboratory -- if we was himself an experimenter at heart -- then he was surely the first philosophical psychologist spawned by experimental science.

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Toward a Science of Human Nature: Essays on the Psychologies of Mill, Hegel, Wundt, and James
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1. the Nineteenth Century 1
  • 2. John Stuart Mill 31
  • 3. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 83
  • 4. Wilhelm Wundt 127
  • 5. William James 173
  • 6. the Nineteenth Century Revisited a Postscript 217
  • BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINES 229
  • Notes 237
  • Index 253
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