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Psychologism - Are we the subject-matter of philosophy?

Tonight's conversation will be partly conceptual and partly historical.

Conceptually, we will consider the possibility that many traditional philosophical debates are really disguised debates about human psychology - one implication being that empirical psychologists are in a better position than "armchair" philosophers to participate in such discussions. (The contemporary movement of experimental philosophy constitutes one relevant contact-point.)

Historically, we will refer to the classical "psychologism dispute" that took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The relevant SEP article (link), which attendees are encouraged but certainly not required to read in advance, engagingly contextualizes our topic amid the variety of thinkers and projects that laid the foundations for today's philosophical scene - analytic, continental, and otherwise.

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  • Brian

    I like this topic, wish I could've heard everyone's thoughts

    July 17, 2014

  • Thrashionalist

    I think that this list will be useful in structuring the conceptual part of our discussion:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/psychologism/#ExaPsyRea

    July 17, 2014

  • Brian

    I'd be interested in whether the kind of "thinking" that makes one better (see Socrates' response to the slave boy) can be taken up through understanding the process psychologically

    July 11, 2014

    • jerry

      "The question immediately arises: can there be a logic of discovery? For are not discovery and invention the work of genius, and hence the proper subject matter of psychology rather than of logic?... One might expect Peirce's view to flow out of a confusion of logic and psychology, or out of a theory which held them to be inseparable. But he very clearly separates logic from psychology: psychology, he frequently says, is a study of how we do think and is irrelevant to logic, which is a study of how we ought to think." ~Arthur Burks

      1 · July 16, 2014

    • jerry

      Still, my opinion is that there is too much overlap when comparing how we do think with how we ought to think that they cannot be considered two different things...

      1 · July 16, 2014

  • Imran M.

    I find this topic much more of a beast than "Hume on personal identity," though also much more interesting.

    July 11, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Ooh, love the topic. Not surprised you posted this considering our conversations.

    July 11, 2014

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