Darwinism: Critical Reviews from Dublin Review, Edinburgh Review, Quarterly Review

Darwinism: Critical Reviews from Dublin Review, Edinburgh Review, Quarterly Review

Darwinism: Critical Reviews from Dublin Review, Edinburgh Review, Quarterly Review

Darwinism: Critical Reviews from Dublin Review, Edinburgh Review, Quarterly Review

Excerpt

In the last pages of the 1892 edition of his Psychology, William James is found examining the state of the discipline and assessing the claims made in its behalf by new and loyal adherents. Accepting that, indeed, psychology is a natural science, he then notes that this fact does not confer stability or even validity:

It means just the reverse; it means a psychology particularly fragile, and into which the waters of metaphysical criticism leak at every joint . . . A string of raw facts; a little gossip and wrangle about opinions; a little classification and generalization on the mere descriptive level; a strong prejudice that we have states of mind, and that our brain conditions them: but not a single law in the sense in which physics shows us laws, not a single proposition from which any consequence can causally be deduced. . . . This is no science, it is only the hope of a science. . . . The Galileo and the Lavoisier of psychology will be famous men indeed when they come, as come they some day surely will . . . When they do come, however, the necessities of the case will make them "metaphysical." (pp. 467-468)

And in 1976, the presidential address to the annual convention of the American Psychological Association sounded a note not very different from James's; eighty-four years later, psychology is still in pursuit of a single law, still found lengthening a string of raw facts, still awaiting its Galileo and Lavoisier.

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.