Psychologism

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Psychologism is a generic type of position in philosophy according to which psychology plays a central role in grounding or explaining some other, non-psychological type of fact or law. The most common types of psychologism are logical psychologism and mathematical psychologism.

Logical psychologism is a position in logic (or the philosophy of logic) according to which logical laws and mathematical laws are grounded in, derived from, explained or exhausted by psychological facts (or laws). Psychologism in the philosophy of mathematics is the position that mathematical concepts and/or truths are grounded in, derived from or explained by psychological facts (or laws).

John Stuart Mill seems to have been an advocate of a type of logical psychologism (although his rejection of a static ontology arguably makes his psychologism flexible enough to accommodate its detractors' criticisms), as were many nineteenth-century German logicians such as Sigwart and Erdmann as well as a number of psychologists, past and present: for example, Gustave Le Bon. Psychologism was famously criticized by Frege in his The Foundations of Arithmetic, and many of his works and essays, including his review of Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic. Edmund Husserl, in the first volume of his Logical Investigations, called "The Prolegomena of Pure Logic", criticized psychologism thoroughly and sought to distance himself from it. The "Prolegomena" is considered a more concise, fair, and thorough refutation of psychologism than the criticisms made by Frege, and also it is considered today by many as being a memorable refutation for its decisive blow to psychologism. Psychologism was also criticized by Charles Sanders Peirce and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

In “Psychologism and Behaviorism,” Ned Block takes psychologism as the position that “whether behavior is intelligent behavior depends on the character of the internal information processing that produces it.” This is in contrast to a behavioral view which would state that intelligence can be ascribed to a being solely via observing its behavior. This type of behavioral view is strongly associated with the Turing test.

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