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date: 06 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter challenges the view that psychology emerged from philosophy about 1900, when each found its own proper sphere with little relation to the other. It begins by considering the notion of a discipline, defined as a distinct branch of learning. Psychology has been a discipline from the time of Aristotle, though with a wider ambit, to include phenomena of both life and mind. Empirical psychology in a narrower sense arose in the eighteenth century, through the application (in Britain and elsewhere) of the observational attitudes of the physical and life sciences to mental phenomena. The experimental psychology of the latter nineteenth century was a transformation of this empirical psychology, although the British version was characterized by new theoretical conceptions (including evolutionary ideas) as well as new empirical techniques. After surveying psychology in and out of universities in this period, the chapter reviews a taxonomy of “schools” of psychology from 1923. Notice of anti-psychological attitudes in British philosophy before and after 1900 is balanced by considering positive conceptions of psychology’s role in connection with epistemology and the problem of the external world.

Keywords: British psychology, empirical psychology, experimental psychology, evolutionary psychology, psychologism, epistemology, external world, Oxford philosophy, discipline, intellectual practice

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