Psychology down the Ages - Vol. 1

By C. Spearman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
PSYCHOLOGICAL METHODS: PSYCHOLOGY
AS IT IS

§ 1. Self-knowledge. § 2. Rumination. "Intuition". § 3. Induction. § 4. Experiment. § 5. Mathematics. § 6. Analogy. § 7. Hypothesis. § 8. Analysis and Synthesis. § 9. Psychology as it really is. § 10. Upshot.


§ 1. Self-knowledge

Although the fact is not always realized by the non- expert public, a science usually includes something very important besides its subject-matter; namely, its method or methods of handling this. And here psychology-- more perhaps than any other science--finds one of its greatest embarrassments.

First and foremost comes the hotly contested method called that of introspection, in the sense of observing one's own experience. This procedure the plain man employs freely and, it would seem, quite efficiently. All day long he is making statements about himself, his own mental states and activities; therefore he is implying a knowledge of these. He will be prepared to affirm not only that the rose before him is red, but also, and with even firmer conviction, that he himself sees it as red. He will not only assert that all mortals die, but also that he himself is convinced of this fact. He is quite well aware when he does, and when he does not, feel pleased, or want anything. Statements about his own experiences supply the largest part of his daily conversation, from the epistolary gambit "I hope and

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