Psychologist at Large: An Autobiography and Selected Essays

By Edwin G. Boring | Go to book overview

Letters

A great part of my need for social stimulus has been met through the mails, often in a correspondence with interesting acquaintances whom I have never seen. My files for 1919-1960 contain about forty thousand letters by me and an equal number to me, most of them quite unimportant, for I have been too lazy to cull them. (My daughter started to sift them in her spare time, but A took her all winter, and she never got to B, for she found she wanted to read the letters she retained.)

I thought it impossible to search these files for interesting samples, but my indomitable editor was resolved not to leave this potential mine of personality untouched. She turned prospector and produced nine nuggets, which seemed to me astonishingly well suited for their purpose. What else remains in the mine we do not know.


Gestalt Psychology and Positivism
1936

To Kurt Koffka at Smith College

Koffa's crucial Principles of Gestalt Psychology (1935) had been reviewed by me at length in the Psychological Bulletin (January 1936, vol. 33, pp. 59-69). According to Koffka, the book was intended to be a definitive text of Gestalt psychology, perhaps the only one. I was at that time an enthusiast for the modem positivist position in psychology—which we tended to call operationism—the view that all scientific concepts are defined in terms of the operations by which they are observed. Since the operations of observation are physical, this view tends to destroy the

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