Progress in Modern Psychology: The Legacy of American Functionalism

By D. Alfred Owens; Mark Wagner | Go to book overview

16
A New Name for an Old Idea? A Student of Harvey Carr Reflects

PAUL L. WHITELY

My chief mentor in graduate school at Chicago was Harvey Carr, who spent most of his professional life at The University of Chicago as professor of experimental psychology. He was admired and loved by his graduate students not only as a masterly teacher and for his acumen in directing research, but also as a man of personal integrity. On the assumption that he is not as well known as he should be by the present generation of psychologists, this essay is presented. The paper reports on the testimonials of his many students on the occasion of his retirement, some reminiscences on the part of the essayist, and an analysis of Carr's systematic position.

The greatness, the worthiness of a man as scientist or as a teacher may be far less known to the general public than to his students or to those who have worked closely with him. Dr. Carr was not a "public man," as is often true of unsung heroes. One of his students asks has he really received his due? More important, perhaps, is the question, is a sophistication about psychology that is blind to historical antecedents any sophistication at all?


CARR'S SYSTEMATIC POSITION

Basically, the systematic orientation of American psychology for Harvey Carr was functional. On this issue Carr, Boring, and, by inference, Woodworth were in substantial agreement. Boring, for example, has stated that "Carr took, essentially, the point of this book -- that functional psychology

Reprinted from the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences with permission of Clinical Psychology Publishing Company, Inc., 4 Conant Square, Brandon, VT 05733

-277-

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