Psychology down the Ages - Vol. 1

By C. Spearman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
SCIENCE OF THE PSYCHE

§ 1. Doctrine of Wandering Doubles. § 2. Search for Principle of Life. § 3. Psychology with a "Soul". § 4. Psychology without a "Soul". § 5. Dispensation from Definitions. § 6. Enrichment and Impoverishment. § 7. Upshot.


§ 1. Doctrine of Wandering Doubles

This question of a title reminds us that the said warfare of schools has extended its ravages so far as to dispute what psychology ought to take for its subject- matter. Indeed, strangely enough, the encounter seems to have been more violent on this issue than on almost any other. Is it the fate of psychology to be a pure science of consciousness? Or should it only form part of the study of the integrative action of the nervous system? Is it obliged to be essentially biological and to deal only with the responses of the organism to the stimuli from its environment? Or may its scope embrace inquiry into the nature of the Self? Or of the Soul? Should it attempt to deal with values, such as the Good, the True, and the Beautiful? Are its proper problems those of "faculties"; or of "acts"; or of "objects"? Of "structure"; or of "function"? Does its range extend to any "subconsciousness"? Do the data at its disposal include what can properly be called "measurements"? Is it, or can it ever hope to be, or should it so much as try to be, a systematic science at all?

Such momentous questions will have to be faced by us. And in order to do so with the best prospect of

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