Psychology (The separation of) from philosophy


Psychology (The separation of) from philosophy
The separation of psychology from philosophy Studies in the sciences of mind 1815–1879 Edward S.Reed THE IMPOSSIBLE SCIENCE Traditional metaphysics The consensus of European opinion during and immediately after the Napoleonic era was that psychology as a science was impossible. This was not the position of a few retrograde thinkers but was the thoughtfully articulated opinion of the best placed academic thinkers. Much of what we now think of as psychology and philosophy emerged from attempts to overcome these well developed arguments against the possibilities of a scientific psychology. There is an important terminological shift during this time as well. In Locke’s day, the English terms ‘natural philosophy’ and ‘moral philosophy’ were used in parallel to mean, roughly, what we would now call natural science as versus social science. By the middle of the eighteenth century a host of other terms were being used to denote all or part of ‘moral philosophy’, such as the Latin ‘psychologia’ (both empirical and rational) and the pseudo-Greek ‘pneumatology’. Within Scottish philosophy the phrases ‘intellectual powers’ and ‘active powers’ of the mind gained some currency. By the turn of the century, however, the word ‘metaphysics’ was increasingly used to denote much of what we would now call psychology (although terms like ‘moral philosophy’ were still common as well). Around 1815, the linguistically sophisticated poet Shelley wrote that ‘Metaphysics is a word which has been so long applied to denote an inquiry into the phenomena of mind that it would justly be presumptuous to employ another [although] etymologically considered it is very ill adapted to express the science of mind’ (Shelley also spoke of Kant as a ‘psychologist’). At about this time Maine de Biran and Schopenhauer were using this term in a similar way, and a generation later one finds the young Charles Darwin also using ‘metaphysics’ to refer to psychological inquiry. An age which demands free inquiry, pushed without fear or compromise to its legitimate conclusions, turns up an Epicurus or a Hobbes. In one which likes to put up at a half-way house, there will be no lack of a Dugald Stewart or a Mackintosh, to provide it with comfortable entertainment. Thomas Love Peacock, ‘The epicier’ (1836) As Napoleon swept across Europe academic theorists increasingly argued that ‘metaphysics’ (psychology) was not a science, or at least that it could not be an empirical science in the same way that physics or chemistry could. The two most important sources of this broad consensus were literally situated at opposite ends of the continent: Immanuel Kant in East Prussia and Thomas Reid in Scotland. It is no exaggeration to say that these were the two most influential psychologists between the French Revolutions of 1789 and 1830. Their views on psychology were widely taught, analysed and discussed. I shall call the position that emerged under this influence ‘traditional European metaphysics’. Ironically, traditional metaphysics is not a position to which either Reid or Kant would have subscribed; nevertheless, it is a set of views which arose in large part because of the influence of Reidian and Kantian arguments. Neither Kant nor Reid was against the study of psychology—on the contrary, both were acute practitioners of this discipline. Nevertheless, they both had strong reasons for attacking any pretensions put forward for treating psychology as a science. Kant and Reid took Newtonian mechanics to be the model empirical science; arguing that explanations in terms of patterns of efficient causality conforming to empirically determinable laws are essential to real science. Both Kant and Reid presumed such laws would be expressed mathematically, and that controlled experimentation (perhaps mixed with observational modelling as in astronomy) was the proper method for deriving the laws. Kant argued that the various claims about the nature of the human mind or soul are impossible to evaluate in this scientific manner. He attacked the ‘rational psychology’ then popular in Germany for claiming to be able to prove such propositions as ‘the soul is unitary and simple’. Instead, as Kant showed in the antinomies of his first Critique, diametrically opposing views of the soul could be sustained with equal rational force. In his ‘anthropology’ Kant endorsed a kind of natural historical model for psychology, using observational techniques to illustrate how different people(s) have developed, and how they react in diverse situations. Kant’s ‘critique’ was a novel discipline, or method, intended to undercut all pretensions to a science of metaphysics beyond this sort of observational procedure. Reid’s attack on psychology as science had a different origin from Kant’s, but ended up in much the same place. Responding to what he called the ‘way of ideas’—and in particular to what we would see as Lockean psychology—Reid objected to what he saw as an inadequate appreciation of the difficulties of accounting for intentional psychological states on the basis of sensory data. Reid argued that psychological capacities, such as the ability to perceive external objects (which Reid saw as central to all mental powers), could not be explained as causal outcomes of physical stimuli affecting the mind or the body. He tried to show that all such accounts either violated the concept of efficient causality, or were not explanatory, or both. The causal effects of, for example, light on the retina are one thing, and the sensory awareness of light (visual sensations) another thing, and the visual perception of objects yet a third thing. The widespread claim, originating in Descartes and running through Locke, the philosophes and beyond, that the first caused the second which caused the third, were simply what we would now call category errors—because physical stimuli cannot be the efficient causes of mental states, nor can sensory (non-intentional) states be the causes of perceptual (intentional) states. Reid occasionally flirted with Berkeleian semiotic explanations of the stimulus-to-sensation transition, and also dabbled with occasionalist interpretations of the sensation-to-perception transition. But, in his mature works on The Intellectual Powers and The Active Powers, he most often argued that these transitions cannot be causal and simply do not fit available models of explanation. Reid did not argue against the distinctions among the concepts of stimulus, sensation and perception; on the contrary, it was Reid who sharpened these three concepts into modern form—thus setting the stage for many a nineteenth-century dispute. However, Reid strongly stated that explanation of the causal interrelationships among these three kinds of events was not possible, and he objected to claims that such interrelationships had to conform to patterns of cause and effect. For Reid the ultimate fact in psychology was ideological: God had so arranged our bodies and minds that upon receipt of a certain stimulus, our bodies felt a given sensation, and our minds conceived a particular perceptual belief. In an intriguing parallel with Kant’s Critique of Judgement, Reid argued that the relationships among the various animal and conscious properties of ourselves is a part-whole relationship, contrived by a deity with the purpose of adapting us to the rest of his creation. Like Kant, Reid argued the need for a descriptive psychology, to elucidate the modes of this adaptation of self to world, but denied even the possibility of an experimental, causally based psychological science. Both Reid and Kant left open a path to what we nowadays call, often disparagingly, a faculty psychology. Through natural history, anthropological observation, intuitive introspection, and other sciences’ knowledge of creation, a descriptive psychology might be developed. Such a psychology would provide a taxonomy of mental capacities (‘faculties’). This taxonomy could be correlated with medical or physiological knowledge of our bodies’ capacities, although no causal explanation of the linkage could be given. Both Kant and Reid were willing to say, for example, that vision begins in the eye, but neither was willing to characterize the events in the eye or brain as efficient causes of vision. Although Reid and Kant left open the possibility of a faculty psychology, neither of them argued for such a psychology. In fact, both Reid and Kant were careful to warn against reifying descriptions of phenomena into substances or forms. None the less, and perhaps because Reid and Kant had left little for psychologically minded inquirers to do, their followers did often move in the direction of reifying psychological phenomena into faculties. Victor Cousin: exemplary traditional metaphysician The career of Victor Cousin (1792–1867) illustrates many of the features of what I am labelling the traditional European metaphysics of the first part of the nineteenth century. A proponent of an increasingly modified ‘Scottish common-sense philosophy’, Cousin was influential across the entire continent, and in America as well, especially through his writings in the history of philosophy. Alternately stymied and helped by political events in post-Napoleonic France, Cousin ultimately became the Minister of Education under Thiers in 1840, exerting a direct and powerful influence on higher education in France for the next generation. Cousin taught primarily at the École Normale, where he began his lecturing career in 1813. In 1815, the premier exponent of Scottish philosophy in France, Royer-Collard, chose Cousin as his substitute, a post he held until 1820. During this period, Cousin became interested in German idealism, especially the work of Schelling and Hegel, and he visited Hegel and others in the German-speaking countries. Thus was begun what Cousin called his ‘eclecticism’—a philosophy which proposed to integrate the best of all previous philosophies. (It is an interesting and unsolved question why Cousin eagerly sought connec-tions between Scottish philosophy and Hegel’s ideas, whereas Dugald Stewart at the same time professed to be completely baffled by Hegel.) Cousin attacked the French Lockeans, from Condillac down to the ideologues, in a way reminiscent of Reid’s critique. Reid argued that the Lockean (really Cartesian, but Cousin downplayed this) ‘way of ideas’ led to materialism. That is, argued Cousin, the notion that mental states are ‘ideas’ which are the effects of physical causes (stimuli and the impressions they make on our bodies and brains) makes no sense except on the kind of materialist interpretation given to it by Diderot or, worse, d’Holbach. Cousin promoted these ideas in his lectures on eighteenth-century philosophy, and also in a separate volume, The Elements of Psychology, an immensely popular chapter-bychapter duel with Locke’s Essay. Although Cousin here endorsed Reid’s critique of Locke, he was unable to articulate a complete and coherent version of Reid’s alternative to Lockean epistemology. In particular, Cousin’s account of Reid’s theory of perception as direct (not based on either ideas or sensations) was very muddled, in ways that prefigure William Hamilton’s disastrous version of Scottish philosophy. Most importantly, Cousin (who was followed in this by Hamilton, Mansel and others) tied Reid’s everyday concept of perception into an almost mystical concept of intuitions of realities. Responding to Locke’s attack on enthusiasm (Essay, IV, xix) Cousin endorsed what he took the Scottish school to be saying as a ‘spontaneous intuition of truth by reason, as independent as possible of the personality and of the senses, of induction and demonstration’. Thus the common sense of the Scottish enlightenment became the enthusiastic intuition of nineteenth-century orthdoxy. What for Reid had been tied into the senses, based on experience, and not on reason, Cousin twisted into a quasi-mystical access to truth, with an eye towards religious and moral orthodoxy. It was to be his greatest contribution. The success of traditional metaphysics—what Kant and Reid saw as an impossible science—was really quite impressive. Fichte and many others in German-speaking countries developed post-Kantian taxonomies of powers of the soul, and began to speculate about the mechanics of the soul as well. In France Reid’s influence on Royer- Collard and Kant’s on Maine de Biran defeated Lockean psychology even before Napoleon had met his Waterloo. Dugald Stewart’s influence in Scotland (and around the continent as well) at this time was immense. In The Encyclopaedia Britannica of the 1820s, in the curriculum of faraway Harvard College, and all around Europe, in Paris, Naples, Vienna and elsewhere something like this metaphysical or faculty psychology was at the centre of the philosophy curriculum. The concert of European ideas about the mind was every bit as broad and strong as the concert of reactionary powers that ruled the European nations rigidly from 1815 to 1830. After 1830 the unity of support for traditional metaphysics began to erode, under the influence of new philosophical positions, and especially with developments in physiological and experimental analyses of neural and mental phenomena. Nevertheless, thanks to Cousin’s eclecticism, traditional metaphysics was still very much alive up to 1848. Although disagreeing about much else, the French-speaking, German-speaking and English-speaking proponents of traditional metaphysics increasingly endorsed psychological theories which made room for Cousin’s intuitionism, a kind of sanctimonious transcendentalism which would have disturbed Kant and Reid. Nevertheless, this kind of intuitive psychology found a home in a broad array of writers: the right Hegelians, Cousin and his French followers, Whewell in England, Hamilton and his followers throughout Britain and the United States. Indeed, it is almost impossible to find a textbook of ‘moral philosophy’ or ‘metaphysics’ from this period that does not promulgate something akin to Cousin’s intuitionism. James Mill’s Analysis is a conspicuous and important exception to this rule, but it is probably not completely representative of the views of those who opposed traditional metaphysics, as I shall now explain. Frankenstein’s science: an alternative psychology Try as they might, Metternich and his allies in reaction could not completely eradicate progressive thinking. Similarly, although the set curriculum of most academic institutions and texts followed a kind of popularized Reidian or Kantian psychology, there was at the same time a widespread, if non-academically-based, alternative psychology. To a great degree this oppositionist psychology was what might be dubbed a ‘fluid materialist’ position. This psychology had its roots in Franklin’s two-fluid theory of electricity, and its branches in Mesmer’s animal magnetism, Galvani’s and Volta’s exciting work on electric phenomena in animal tissues, and in Boscovich’s reconceptualization of physical force. Increasingly, some thinkers were led to speculate that an understanding of electricity—or perhaps some other, subtler, fluid within the nerves—would unlock the secrets of life and mind. Priestley was perhaps the earliest proponent of this materialist psychology—and was soundly attacked first by Kant and then by a mob organized by the British authorities to drive him out of the country. Above all it was Priestley who placed associationism (derived from Hartley) at the centre of materialist psychology, launching a tradition of psychologists and physiologists looking for associations among neural processes and pathways. Priestley however shied away from serious neurophysiological analysis of the mind (and called Hartley’s attempt at such an analysis a failure). Thus it was Erasmus Darwin’s Zoonomia (many editions and translations from 1792 to 1812) that properly launched a fluid materialist psychology. This text, which appears to have been widely influential across Europe, treated sensory impressions as the fluidic activity of nerves when impressed by stimuli, and went on to develop an elaborate associationist mechanism for psychological processes. In addition, Darwin here and elsewhere speculated about the possibility that electricity is the key to understanding not only neural processes but even life itself. For example, he reported on the experiments of Aldini (Galvani’s nephew) in which dead flesh is ‘reanimated’ by the use of electricity. A glimpse of the ideas involved in this oppositionist psychology is afforded by Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. First published in 1818, this novel emerged from Shelley’s attempts to think through the implications of Darwin’s psychology. Victor Frankenstein is a scientist in the mould of the elder Darwin: ‘I was led to examine,’ this character says, ‘the cause and progress of th[e] decay [of living tissue]’ and such studies helped him succeed ‘in discovering the cause of generation and life’. But not only is life science capable of being studied causally, so is psychology. Mary Shelley follows Hartley and Darwin carefully in her description of how Frankenstein’s android, abandoned by its creator, would develop psychologically. In the creature’s original state, ‘no distinct ideas occupied my mind; all was confused’. What confused the creature was a bewildering array of sensations. But some of the sensations were more pleasurable than others, and these captivated the creature’s mind. The most powerful feelings were elicited by the creature’s witnessing scenes of social intercourse among the family members upon whom it is spying: seeing the ageing father playing music for his daughter, the creature ‘felt sensations of a peculiar and overpowering nature: they were a mixture of pain and pleasure, such as I had never before experienced’. Shelley follows the materialist psychology of her day in seeing both language and morals as emerging from the association of weaker feelings with these powerfully strong sensations of social origin. ‘I perceived,’ says the android, ‘that the words they spoke sometimes produced pleasure or pain, smiles or sadness, in the minds and countenances of the hearers. This was indeed a godlike science, and I ardently desired to become acquainted with it.’ Such acquaintance is made by the creature’s straining to associate names of familiar objects and people with their referents. Like her mentors, Hartley and Darwin, Mary Shelley did not try to explain how a creature limited in its experience to sensations could come to perceive the significance of such a thing as a pained countenance. She understood that even simple objects can have multiple names (such as the boy in the family being called alternately ‘Felix, brother, or son’) but was able to convince herself that the bewildering associations of sound and sense could nevertheless be worked out by a naive listener. But some associations are not so simple: the android discovers that it can hear the sounds of some words, even though it does not grasp their reference, words ‘such as good, dearest, unhappy’. To understand such words, the materialist psychologists argued, required experience with people and their ways. Here is the beginning of the great nineteenth-century conflict between an experiential, or empiricist, psychology and a nativist one. The standard metaphysics asserted that knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong was not based on experience, and certainly not based on the sensations of pain and pleasure; on the contrary, writers like Fichte, de Biran and Stewart held that we each have a kind of direct intuitive apprehension of right and wrong. Reid had warned that the Hutchesonian concept of ‘moral sense’ was incoherent—that an apprehension of good and evil could never be obtained by mere sensation. Reid’s own response to this was to argue that morals were empirical (he spoke of moral judgements and moral perceptions, based on experience and intuitive—God-given—standards of conduct). Although this view influenced American thinkers, especially Thomas Jefferson, it appears to have been abandoned in nineteenth-century Europe even by followers of the ‘Scottish school’. In its place was substituted the traditional metaphysicians’ assertion of an innate, intuitive, apprehension of right and wrong. The metaphysical mainstream shied away from Reid’s empirical ethics for reasons well understood by the materialists, and well illustrated in the narrative of Frankenstein. If moral evaluation derives from experience, then certain repeated patterns of association might generate moral monsters: people who get pleasure from and justify acts which the rest of us judge to be evil. At first, when his experience derives primarily from reading history, the android ‘felt the greatest ardour for virtue arising within me, and abhorrence for vice’ but these terms, as the android explains, should be understood only as ‘relative…to pleasure and pain alone’. Hence, when it emerges that human beings cannot stand even to look at him, and that even his creator finds him horrific, the android develops an inverted morals: what destroys humans will destroy all his greatest pains, and is therefore the greatest good. Contemporary critics detested this point of Shelley’s book, and attacked her for promulgating a false morals, or an amoral position. ‘Our taste and our judgment alike revolt at this kind of writing’ said the Quarterly Review, ‘and the greater the ability with which it may be executed the worse it is—it inculcates no lesson of conduct, manners or morality.’ A psychology that treated humans as natural objects, that did not assume that humans were creatures with a transcendent soul—as did the traditional metaphysics— would end up offering a scenario of mental and moral development that looked frighteningly like the one in Shelley’s novel. To make psychology into a science could threaten the moral fibre of society. The suppression of psychology as a natural science In evaluating the conflict between traditional metaphysics and the materialist psychological tradition, the modern reader should keep in mind that this battle often went well beyond the realm of ideas. Especially after the defeat of Napoleon, State and religious authorities (often the same people, and almost always the same bureaucracies) exerted enormous efforts to prevent dissemination of ideas like those of Erasmus Darwin and Mary Shelley. Censorship, the use of informers and highly active secret police forces were the norm in all European countries from 1815 to 1830. The authorities were on the lookout for fluidic psychology, in order to crush what they saw as ‘pantheism’, ‘atheism’ and ‘materialism’—all assumed to be enemies of the status quo. A number of historians have argued that it was the emerging sciences of phrenology and mesmerism that were specifically under attack. I would argue that proponents of these ideas were attacked only in so far as they were seen as overlapping with the fluidic materialists. Once the second generation of Mesmerists gave up Mesmer’s claims concerning the physical force supposedly at the root of mesmeric phenomena, once the second generation of phrenologists adopted a moderate nativism (especially in Calvinist Scotland), they were widely accepted. In contrast to mesmerists or phrenologists, those who propounded the idea of studying life and mind within the framework of natural science were zealously prosecuted, even in the most ‘liberal’ of European states at this time, Great Britain. One of the most important cases of such repression is that of William Lawrence (1783–1867), a distinguished but radical surgeon (soon to be an editor of the insurgent medical periodical The Lancet, and later Surgeon to Queen Victoria). Lawrence was a follower of Bichat who believed that research on electricity and other physical forces would ultimately reveal the connection between neural structure and mental function, giving us a kind of natural science of the soul. Doctors should rejoice in this, Lawrence believed, because it means that insanity is not a disease of the soul (only treatable, if at all, by moral suasion) but a physiological disorder, perhaps curable by medicine. In 1819 Lawrence prepared to publish a work explaining these ideas, his Lectures on Physiology, Zoology, and the Natural History of Man. After a brief period of publication, there was an orchestrated campaign against this book for blasphemy. Leading figures in the medical establishment asked the Royal College of Surgeons to force Lawrence to expunge the blasphemies and to desist from lecturing. Lawrence withdrew the book and lost his lectureship. One of William Lawrence’s patients, the husband of the author of Frankenstein, had even worse problems with State suppression of his philosophical and psychological ideas. In 1813 Percy Shelley had 250 copies printed of the first of his great dramatic poems, Queen Mab. Directly influenced by Erasmus Darwin’s poetry as well as his theories, this poem included extensive prose notes, amounting to a series of essays on such forbidden topics as republicanism, atheism and materialist psychology. Shelley was explicit in his psychology in these essays, where Mary in her novel could only be implicit. He argued explicitly for treating humans as part of nature, and for seeing psychology, morals and politics, as sciences seeking causal laws: ‘Were the doctrine of necessity false, the human mind would no longer be a legitimate object of science; from like causes it would be vain that we should expect like effects’, but this is never true. A true psychology would see motives as nothing more than complex causes, and lawful patterns of cause and effect would then be discerned. Where we seem to see action without causes, he said, ‘these are the effects of causes with which we are unacquainted.’ This psychology would ‘introduce a great change into established notions of morality…there is neither good nor evil in the universe, otherwise than as the events to which we apply these epithets have relation to our own mode of being’. Shelley was always acute at seeing the implications of his philosophical ideas. One implication he took pleasure in emphasizing was that this new moral psychology would desanctify marriage, and legitimate divorce—an implication chosen to annoy his orthodox readers. Marriages, far from being made in heaven, are natural relationships, ‘the worthiness [of which should be] estimated by the quantity of pleasurable sensation it is calculated to produce…. the connection of the sexes is so long sacred [only] as it contributes to the comfort of the parties, and is naturally dissolved when its evils are greater than its benefits’. Much of Shelley’s more serious discussions of the implications of his psychology revolved around his vegetarianism, expounded at great length in the notes to the poem. Like Feuerbach and then the German materialists of forty years later, Shelley argued that the intake of food was a key ingredient in a person’s constitution, and that proper diet was a basis not only for good physical and mental health but for the formation of progressive characters, capable of educating and reforming the world. Historians of philosophy have often noted, usually with scorn, Feuerbach’s extreme materialist phase, with his claim that ‘man ist was man isst’ (people are what they eat)— but historians would be better advised to try to explain the widespread appeal of this doctrine throughout the middle of the nineteenth century than to make fun of it. Shelley was attacked for both seditious and blasphemous libel, and his book banned. This was one of a series of events, which included the use of government spies to follow him and his friends and to read his correspondence, that ultimately led to Shelley’s selfimposed exile from what he saw as a ruthless and tyrannical government. Shelley tried in various ways to have the ideas in this book, or even parts of the book, published and/or reviewed with varying success. Finally, again, several pirated editions began appearing, including one from Richard Carlile, an important ‘working-class’ publisher and fighter for a free press. Bans and trials continued to be stimulated by this book, but the text was out of the bag. Queen Mab quickly became known as ‘the Chartist’s Bible’. Many a cobbler and cordwainer cut their philosophical teeth on Shelley’s ideas, and his quotations from d’Holbach, Voltaire, Drummond, E.Darwin and Spinoza. The battle between traditional metaphysics and psychology as a natural science was thus not an even one. The former had access to publication, pulpit and professorships; the latter risked prosecution, imprisonment, loss of positions and banishment. The rapid success and proliferation of materialist ideas across Europe in the wake of 1848 suggests that ideas like the first Darwin’s and Shelley’s were much more widely known and discussed than the printed records—especially the printed records of philosophical works which tended to be academically and ecclesiastically respectable publications—might suggest. Historians of philosophy need to know much more about what radical surgeons and poets were thinking and saying. It will not be easy to find out what these heterodox thinkers were saying because of the widespread use of police spies and informers, which inhibited people even in private correspondence, much less in publication. It is imperative that historians recognize that the decades following Waterloo imposed the tightest censorship ever seen across most of the European continent. Here is one example of the mischief this severe censorship has caused to historians of ideas. It is widely believed that Spinozist ideas—especially those relating to pantheism and to psychophysical isomorphism—arose from theological discussions sparked by such ‘left Hegelians’ as Feuerbach and Strauss in the 1830s and 1840s. Supposedly the first ‘serious’ writing on Spinoza in nineteenth century England was G.H.Lewes’s in the early 1840s, followed by the unpublished translation of The Ethics by Marian Evans (later ‘George Eliot’ and Lewes’s spouse). But Lewes acknowledged hearing of Spinoza from discussions with Leigh Hunt in the 1830s. Leigh Hunt was one of Shelley’s key literary contacts, and probably knew of Shelley’s translation of Spinoza’s Tractatus. Perhaps Spinoza’s ideas, interpreted through the lens of a materialist psychology, influenced philosophical opinion in London well before reaching the ‘broad reading public’ or the conservatives in Oxford and Cambridge. (A similar story could be told of the dissemination of Spinoza’s ideas in France in part via the writings of the radical poet Heinrich Heine.) The iron grip of the concert of Europe began to be loosened in the 1830s. As we shall see in the next section, there was a corresponding increase in objections to traditional metaphysics in the years between 1830 and 1848. It is possible that some of these ideas were previously censored ones finally seeing the light of day, and it is also possible that some of these ideas were genuinely novel. Without extensive and careful research that includes examination of unpublished documents, and information about non-academic circles (such as working-class reading groups which were common in all the major British cities, and even in some continental cities as well, from 1820 on), it will be difficult to determine the path taken by novel ideas at this time. THE BREAKDOWN OF THE OF EUROPEAN IDEAS Emergent naturalism Despite its widespread popularity, and despite the very real boost it received from the authorities, secular and sacred, traditional metaphysics was a relatively unstable theory for psychology. It is one thing to state that the analysis of the soul goes beyond the boundaries of the natural world, for the soul is a transcendental entity—but it is another thing to produce various analyses of psychological states, all the while protesting that certain modes of explanation do not apply. For example, Reid’s denial that sensory impressions can or should be treated as the causes and sensory states as the effects of a single process simply had to strike any independent-minded physiologist as wrongheaded. The rise of associationist psychological theories after 1820 should be seen in the context of attempts to naturalize aspects of traditional metaphysics. In particular, the associationists were dissatisfied with what they saw as overly general statements about ‘laws’ and ‘dispositions’ of the human mind. They wanted these replaced by what we would now call psychological mechanisms. This conflict is well illustrated in the different estimations of the state of psychology offered by Dugald Stewart and his erstwhile student, James Mill. Stewart’s Dissertation exhibiting a general view of the Progress of Metaphysical, Ethical, and Political Philosophy since the revival of letters in Europe (which was prefaced to the fourth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1819) offered a strong defence of traditional metaphysics. For example, in writing about John Gregory’s essay of advice to physicians, Stewart explained that Gregory correctly emphasizes ‘the laws of the union of the mind and the body and the mutual influence they have upon one another’. Stewart went on to caution, however, that it is only the laws which regulate the union between mind and body…which are here pointed out as proper objects of philosophical curiosity; for as to any hypothesis concerning the manner in which the union is carried on, this most sagacious writer was well aware, that they are not more unfavorable to the improvement of logic and of ethics, than to a skilful and judicious exercise of the healing art. (425) Making a sense One of the specific ways in which traditional metaphysics responded to the Kantian and Reidian arguments against scientific psychology was to invent a new sense. What Kant termed the ‘scandal of philosophy’—and it is important to remember that by ‘philosophy’ he meant something closer to what we mean by ‘science’ than modern philosophy—was the inability to prove the existence of the external world. Reid was content to avoid proof in this matter, and merely to assert the plausibility of the existence of objects as an assumption on which science should be based. Here Kant went well beyond Reid and investigated how such a proof might be developed, ultimately offering his transcendental arguments to make such a proof. The empirical world of causal interactions, of space and time, Kant asserted, could be proved to exist only if one assumed that the human soul qua transcendental creature participated in the construction of these phenomena. Thus Kant was what he chose to call a transcendental idealist but an empirical realist. The phenomenal world could be proved to be real, but only by hypothesizing a transcendentally active mind. Naturally Kant’s conclusions were resisted by many thinkers (whether his arguments were understood by these thinkers is a separate question). Just as Kant chose to make causality, space and time the central test issues of his work, so did the traditional metaphysicians who resisted Kant’s transcendental idealism. In the first three decades of the nineteenth century several non-transcendental schematisms were offered to explain how knowledge of causality and space and time might be veridical. One group of arguments revolved around refining and extending the previously inchoate notion of a ‘movement’ or ‘muscle sense’. A second group of arguments revolved around a novel idea of a ‘sense of effort’ or some sort of direct intuition of personal activity. Maine de Biran and Schopenhauer are the most important thinkers of the second group (some might put Fichte in this group as well). Destutt de Tracy and some of his followers in France, along with Thomas Brown, James Mill and their followers in Britain, make up the important members of the first group. (And there is some reason to suspect that Brown was heavily influenced by de Tracy.) It was the promoters of this new sense who did the most to set the stage for mid-nineteenth-century associationism. What both these groups of thinkers held in common was the notion that nontranscendental forms of mental activity could be invoked to prove that our knowledge of the external world is reasonably veridical. The crudest form of their idea is the doctrine of ‘resistance’: that children learn the difference between themselves and the world by coming up against things that resist their actions as they move around. (Berkeley actually anticipated this part of the argument in several passages of his Three Dialogues.) Whether this resistance is detected through sense inputs deriving from muscular activity or from something preventing the proper carrying out of an action as willed, the cognitive result might be the same: knowledge of something that is external to, and undetermined by, myself. Where the two groups of theorists diverge most sharply is on the nature of causation. The second group of theorists offers a kind of output-based theory, by emphasis in the mental output causing action. In contrast to the input-based theorists of muscle sense, these output theorists typically suggested that the human mind has a kind of direct, intuitive knowledge of its own causal power. Both Maine de Biran and Schopenhauer make this supposed intuition central to their metaphysics, arguing that it is through knowledge of our causal powers that we know ourselves as Kantian noumena, not merely as phenomena. Neither a transcendental schematism nor empirical associations need be invoked, these theorists claimed, to explain how we know this one species of causality, because it is known via a special kind of direct access. This very dichotomy between input- and output-based theorizing raised the question as to what, exactly, is a sense? Could one call the direct intuition of personal causal powers a sense? Even Locke had decided to call such mental facts ‘reflection’ as opposed to sense experience. In reflection there is no sense organ, aside from the cerebrum, and perhaps not even the brain is necessary for a person to detect his or her own mental activity, or so de Biran seems to have argued on occasion, unlike Schopenhauer. The idea of a muscle or a movement sense also raised a host of questions about what should count as a sense. If there is a separate sense based on our capacity to detect changes of tension in muscles, then how does one distinguish this sense from touch? E.H.Weber, in his seminal experiments on somesthesis in the early 1830s, argued that the only proper way to draw the distinction was to study touch in a completely passive hand or body part. But as early as the 1810s physiologists like Steinbuch in Germany, Bichat in France and Charles Bell in Scotland were exploring the possibility that muscles themselves, as well as skin, were sensitive organs. In contrast to Weber, Charles Bell in his Bridgewater treatise on The Hand emphasized the co-ordination between movement and perception (as, later, did Weber’s student, Lotze). It is striking that Bell’s early concept of a nervous circle and complex coordination between activity and perception was among his least influential ideas. For nearly a century after Bell and Weber, research on touch meant research on the sensitivity of immobilized skin (in which the normal exploratory processes of touch are eliminated), and research on action meant studies of reflex functioning (in which the normal sensory adjustments of bodily parts are eliminated). The contrast between the widely accepted conception of the senses as passive channels of impressions and the natural activity of animals and people is still a fundamental tension in psychological theory. While the output theorists offered a strong challenge to Kant’s claim that noumena are unknowable, the input theorists’ challenge was to Kant’s doctrine of perception as resting on a transcendental schematism. In particular, associationist psychologists tried to develop intricate models of how sensitivity to muscular motion might provide them with the ‘missing information’—just what they needed to explain how external objects are perceived in space and time. The model for how to do this was supplied by a Scottish traditional metaphysician who broke explicitly from Reid, and exerted enormous influence on the Mills and later associationists, Thomas Brown. Thomas Brown (1778–1820) was the successor to Dugald Stewart in the Chair of Moral Philosophy in Edinburgh. He made his name as a young scholar by defending Hume’s theory of causation when Hume was still a bogeyman in Scotland, and by attacking Erasmus Darwin’s materialist psychology, and, a little later, phrenology. Brown’s lectures on The Philosophy of the Human Mind (1820) were exactly that, his lecture notes, published posthumously and widely disseminated in Great Britain, France and the United States. (Brown preferred to spend his energies in the composition of bad poetry.) Although typically categorized as a follower of Reid, Brown was not, and explicitly acknowledged his deviations from Reid’s philosophical positions. Brown did not think, as did Reid, that what we perceive are the external objects themselves. It is evident, that…the real object of sense is not the distant object, but that which acts immediately upon the organs,—the light itself, not the sun which beams it on us…. The reference to the distant sun…is the effect of another principle of our intellectual nature [than perception],—the principle of association, or suggestion…without which, indeed, our mere transient sensations would be comparatively of little value. (1.242) For Reid the object of sense is always the distant object, and our sensations are different things entirely than our perceptions, so no amount of suggestion or association could turn them into perceptions. One implication of Brown’s sensationalism is that the young child will have to learn to distinguish self from non-self based only on sensations. A Reidian might acknowledge that learning is involved here, but the learning would be based on the Reidian assumption that even babies perceive external objects. It was Brown, above all others, who bequeathed to nineteenth century-century psychology one of its central problems: how can an infant come to perceive objects as external from and independent of itself, and how can it do so on the basis merely of sensations? ‘There will be, in the first momentary state,’ Brown explains, ‘no separation of self and the sensation,—no little proposition formed in the mind, I feel, or I am conscious of a feeling; but the feeling and the sentient I, will, for the moment, be the same.’ As Brown understood, once one accepts sensationalism, it is clear that in a childhood state ‘we know as little of our bodily frame, as of th[e] material universe.’ Luckily ‘our muscular frame, is not merely a part of the living machinery of motion, but is also truly an organ of sense. When I move my arm, without resistance, I am conscious of a certain feeling; when the motion is impeded, by the presence of an external body, I am conscious of a different feeling’ which arises only in part from touch. The other component of this difference in feeling is muscular, and it is from this that we get sensations of solidity—without muscle sense, touch would be nothing more than painful or pleasant feelings. Having abandoned Reidian perception of real objects for sensationalism, Brown added this important new sensation: the feeling of solidity. It is from this, through intricate patterns of association, that he and his many associationist descendants chose to explain the origin of our perception of the external world. But in addition to a new sensation, Brown also brought in a new faculty, memory. To explain how feelings of solidity begin to be associated into perceptions of externality, Brown appealed to the infants’ knowledge of a succession—‘a feeling which necessarily, involves the notion of divisibility or series of parts, that is so essential a constituent of our more complex notion of matter [which notion is] that which has parts, and that which resists our efforts to grasp it’. Brown then elaborated this idea by imagining what sensations would be available to a baby feeling any object. There would be simultaneous feelings if more than one finger or body part touched the object. There would also be successive feelings as the hands moved over objects. And the pleasant or unpleasant feelings of touch would be correlated with different feelings of solidity, again both successively and simultaneously. Out of this successive series of feelings of hardness, Brown carefully constructed the idea of length, and from this he then constructed the idea of space. The infant, at first feeling its own fingers as they move, will come to associate the sensation of contact between fingertip and, say, palm, with a sequence of muscular feelings (this example comes from Hartley). This will be perceived, Brown claimed, as a certain distance. The next finger movement and contact, or the next hand movement and contact with a body part will be a different distance, and so on. Variants of this model of the perception of the external world are found in numerous thinkers over the next century. Brown’s was a crude theory, with many obvious difficulties. For example, if succession—time—can be detected at birth, why not space? Or, another example, how can babies decide that the feelings of solidity underneath their bottoms come from objects different from those in their fingers or hands, since the former are always co-present with the latter? Despite its crudeness, Brown’s associationist empiricism had enormous popularity and influence—indeed, variants of this theory are still taught today. Motor theories of mind In addition to his important role in bringing associationism, sensationism and empiricism together, Brown also adumbrated a theory of perception that was widely influential, even among non-empiricists. Although he did not use this term (it is a twentieth-century neologism), Brown’s ‘motor theory of perception’ was the basis for much later thinking about spatial perception and cognition. Reid had argued that perception (of external objects) was a fundamentally different psychological process from sensation (awareness of states of feeling). Following Brown, most nineteenth-century thinkers made a very different use of Reid’s distinction between sensation and perception: sensations were to be turned into perceptions, via processes of association, memory and, later, judgement. Indeed, Brown asserted that ‘Perception…is only another name…for the result of certain associations and inferences that flow from more general principles of the mind.’ Brown essentially wanted to eliminate ‘perception’ as referring to either a special class of mental states or a specifiable psychological process, beyond that of association among sensations, a position that John Stuart Mill was to adopt without acknowledgement. Brown is very explicit about his rejection of Reid’s distinction, and his belief that sensations of muscular movement are the basis of all our knowledge of the external world. n that state of acquired knowledge, long after the first elementary feelings in infancy, in which modified state alone, the phenomena of the mind can become to us objects of reflective analysis, certain feelings are referred by us to an external material cause. The feelings themselves, as primarily excited, are termed sensations, and when followed by the reference to an external cause, receive the name perceptions, which marks nothing more in addition to the primary sensations than this very reference. But what is the reference itself, in consequence of which the new name is given? It is the suggestion of some extended resisting object, the presence of which had before been found to be attended with that particular sensation, which is now again referred to it. (353) Brown goes on to make it clear that this ‘suggestion’ involves the association of any sensation (visual, tactile, auditory, etc.) with a muscular sensation—the feeling of resistance to our action—so that perception as such (knowledge of external objects) would be impossible without the muscular sense. ‘In all but one class of our sensations, then, it is evident that what Dr Reid calls perception, as the operation of a peculiar mental faculty, is nothing more than a suggestion of memory or association.’ Furthermore, Brown argues that even feelings of resistance are not so much perceptions in Reid’s sense as a kind of ‘intuitive belief in the externality of the causes of our feelings of muscular motion. James Mill codified, organized, and extended Brown’s theory. (In explaining Brown’s ideas I have doubtless given the impression that Brown’s theory was clear and organized, but in fact it is buried amidst hundreds of pages of rather turgid prose.) Mill enunciated what he considered to be several principles of association, and importantly introduced the concept of a [i]fused sensation. By this he meant an association of two or more sensations that, through repetition and/or intensity, comes to be felt as a single sensation. This concept of a fused sensation he applied to many cases of our perception of external objects, arguing that our apparently visual awareness of external things, for example, is based upon a fusion of visual with muscular and tactile sensations. What is most striking about these muscular sensations is that we never seem to be conscious of them. Unlike smells and sights, we never appear to have the kind of feelings hypothesized by Brown and the elder Mill. James Mill suggests that feelings of rest, discomfort and stretching might be instances of muscle sensations, but he is aware that ‘there are some muscles of the body in constant and vehement action, as the heart, of the feelings attendant upon the action of which we seem to have no cognisance at all’. Still, ‘this is no argument’ against their existence, and the lack of consciousness can be explained by habitual inattention. As late as 1869, when he was editing his father’s book for republication, Stuart Mill spoke of this as ‘the paradox… of…feelings which are not felt’. And, indeed, Stuart Mill realized this important inconsistency within associationist sensationalism. Supposedly all our knowledge derives from sensations, and supposedly sensations are the simplest modes of feeling, and supposedly feelings are simple mental (conscious) states. But associationist accounts of how sensations become perceptions all require that many of our sensations go unnoticed. This applies to vision and other sense modalities as well as to muscular sense; for example, we are rarely conscious (if ever) of the changing hues of visible objects as we change position with respect to them and the light source, although these sensations are supposedly the basis of our seeing the colour of the objects in the first place. Alexander Bain (1818–1903) is typically treated as an associationist follower of the Mills, who developed a more empirically based account of perception and volition. However, Bain in fact modified Brown’s and the Mills’ theory into something much closer to a modern motor theory of perception. Recognizing some of the problems of the sensory associationism found in Brown and James Mill, Bain emphasized not so much muscle sense as motor activity. Bain focused his thinking on the spontaneous activity of animals and infants, not on their receptivity to impressions, muscular and otherwise. He was perhaps the first scientist after Whytt to emphasize the importance of overall muscle tone and the permanent closure of sphincter muscles as evidence of a psychologically important fact. Bain’s is thus the first true motor theory of perception, emphasizing that perception itself is dependent upon prior motor activities. It is only as a consequence of our activity that muscular feelings arise, and it is only because of these muscular feelings that we perceive external objects. To use another anachronistic term, muscular sensations are, for Bain, ‘response-produced sensations’. In addition to Brown’s notion that muscle sense gave us information about resistance, Bain claimed two more kinds of information for muscular feelings: feelings of effort (as in effort of attention), and feelings of the rate of muscular contraction (a kind of effort of bodily attention). From his motor theory of perception, Bain derived his conception of what a belief is. A belief is not only a mental state for Bain but also a state of preparedness to act. In fact, what a belief is is that upon which one is prepared to act. Another important motor theorist of the mind was William Carpenter (1813–85). A distinguished comparative anatomist and student of the ‘Philosophical Anatomist’ Robert Grant, Carpenter was turned down for the Chair of Medicine at Edinburgh in 1842 for his Unitarian beliefs. In 1844 he was so widely suspected of having penned The Vestiges of Creation—an infamous evolutionist tract—that he had to issue a denial. (Later he befriended the true author of that work, Robert Chambers, the Scots polymath.) Carpenter explicitly saw his work in neuropsychology as modernizing and improving upon Gall’s conception of brain and mental science. Like most serious phrenologists, Carpenter was a strong moral crusader (Carpenter was especially associated with the crusade against drinking alcohol) but, unlike the phrenologists, Carpenter followed Hartley (the Unitarian hero) and not the Scots philosophers (the Presbyterian heroes). Whereas earlier writers (like Erasmus Darwin and James Mill) had emphasized the need to bring Hartley’s associationism up to date, Carpenter attempted to bring Hartley’s approach to volition and to moral judgement into mid-nineteenth-century science. His most important writing on the mind is his Mental Physiology (1874), which grew out of a large section on the topic in his earlier (and very influential) Human Physiology, which went through a number of editions in the 1840s and 1850s. In many ways, Carpenter was a transitional figure. Carpenter even called his work ‘physiological metaphysics’ on occasion, and his emphasis on ‘character’ and its formation as central to psychology echoes the writings of Gall, Spurzheim and Combe as well as the ideas of Hartley. Whereas Bain used the motor theory of mind epistemologically, Carpenter tended to use it ontologically. He regarded ‘all the physical forces of the universe as the direct manifestation of the Mental force of the Deity’. Just as Lotze made an analogy between God’s creation of the cosmos and our soul’s ordering of the mental ‘microcosmos’, so Carpenter found the idea that our notion of power derives from something like Bain’s motor sense an interesting parallel to his speculations on the ‘correlation of natural forces’. ‘It is to me very interesting to find the two lines of argument—the one starting from the correlation of the Physical, Vital, and Mental forces…the other from our own subjective consciousness’ as running together. In particular, Carpenter found one important parallel between the Deity and our souls in his concept of volition. Although God receives information from the entire universe, and must act (if she is truly omniscient) on the basis of all the relevant information, her acts are not constrained by this information. The same is true with our souls or wills, which receive all relevant information, but may act in independence of incoming impressions. Like Bain, Carpenter saw that any activity would produce new impressions, but, unlike Bain, Carpenter distinguished between impressions that simply activated nerve channels in the spine or brain in a reflex-like fashion and impressions that required conscious deliberation prior to action. These latter were cases of free action, Carpenter insisted. Despite this emphasis on free action, he also noted that a great deal of habitual action did not require such deliberation, and could be handled ‘automatically’ (Hartley’s ‘secondary involuntary acts’). Just as God designed the universe to act on its own most of the time, so our minds are capable of allowing our bodies to act automatically in many instances, on the basis of what Carpenter dubbed ‘unconscious cerebration’. This concept of ‘unconscious cerebration’ requires there to be reflex-like mechanisms that are both cerebral and unconscious which Carpenter called ‘cerebral reflexes’. Carpenter’s application of this concept of cerebral reflex (a concept he credited to Thomas Laycock) was unusual and important: he used it to explain Braid’s results with hypnosis, and other examples of what are now called ‘dissociated states’. If hypnotists can distract a person’s conscious attention, or cause them to relax that conscious attention, then hypnotists may be able to engage habitual cerebral reflexes that otherwise would not be activated. For example, a hypnotist might arrange for a person to believe that the solid tennis-ball-sized object in front of him or her was an apple, when in reality it was an onion. And, if their automatism were truly activated, the person might well bite into the ‘apple’ even though they would never do so when normally conscious. In other words, Carpenter distinguished two forms of ‘ideomotor action’. In the first, one’s idea is conscious and freely deliberated, which is ordinary voluntary behaviour; in the second, the idea arrives from some source other than deliberation, nevertheless setting off the ‘cerebral reflexes’ so that an action follows. Carpenter suggested that this second kind of ideo-motor activity might be invoked to explain many of the ‘spiritualist’ phenomena then in vogue, such as messages on Ouija boards. Thus Brown’s ‘suggestion’ was transmogrified into Carpenter’s concept of ‘suggestibility’: that some people are especially susceptible to this second kind of ideo-motor action, and that they themselves can act out an unconscious idea, or be made to act out such an idea by a properly trained hypnotist. This theory of suggestibility was to have a great impact on the classical era of psychoanalysis, through Charcot and Binet to Breuer and Freud. THE BRIEF LIFE OF NATURAL METAPHYSICS The traditional metaphysics which reigned throughout the Western world between 1815 and 1830 did not give way all of a sudden to one or even a few different theories. Instead, thinkers chipped away at a number of exposed places on the edifice of the traditional theory. If those who invoked a new sense—whether muscular-based or innervationbased— were right, then many of the traditional claims about the possibility of proving the validity of our knowledge of the external world could be shown to be wrong, based as they were on an inadequate inventory of our sensory experience. Similarly, many of the traditionalists’ critiques of associationism could be shown to miss the mark, if associations could include associations to sensations of muscular effort. These various assaults on traditional metaphysics challenged its epistemological and/or psychological assumptions. Alternatively, some thinkers challenged the traditional views on ontological grounds. This was decidedly riskier, because the challenger could always be accused of materialism or atheism. As a matter of fact, several of these challengers were so attacked, and many of them were also criticized for being ‘Spinozists’ (a term that still connoted materialist atheism to the orthodox, and usually warranted the attentions of the secret police). Nevertheless, it was clear to many that the traditional view was highly susceptible at just this point: once one has assembled sufficient facts to map out laws relating psychological and bodily states, it would seem appropriate to suggest hypotheses relating these two realms of phenomena, despite the ban on such suggestions from the orthodox. To illustrate some of the more important ontological critiques of traditional metaphysics, I have chosen three of the more important early challengers. The first, Schopenhauer, is typically classified as a philosopher; the second, Johannes Müller, as a physiologist; and the third, Fechner, as a psychologist. Each of these thinkers, in his own way, challenged the traditional metaphysical consensus, and offered an alternative ontology in its place. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) was the heir of a well-to-do merchant family of Danzig (Gdansk), and the son of a well known woman novelist with whom he was unable to get along. All his life he was an ardent Anglophile (he read the London Times daily) and was almost certainly better informed about English-language philosophical trends than any of his German contemporaries. Although aware of some of the British attempts to rectify Kant’s epistemology ‘by dint of muscle’, Schopenhauer chose to improve upon Kant (perhaps the only modern philosopher for whom Schopenhauer showed real respect) in a completely different way. Unlike Kant, Schopenhauer resolutely refused to supernaturalize noumena. He treated our consciousness of self as direct access to the real, noumenal self. What writers like Erasmus Darwin and Brown vaguely referred to as a sense of effort Schopenhauer saw not as a form of sensory experience but as a direct knowledge of our noumenal being. Although direct and personal, this knowledge is limited primarily to the fact that the noumenon exists. This self or noumenal existence Schopenhauer labelled ‘will’, although he acknowledged that it bears only a metaphorical resemblance to the phenomenal will as experienced in our activity. Indeed, in his major work, The World as Will and Representation (1819 and later editions) Schopenhauer was quite explicit that one cannot even be certain whether your will and mine are two things or one, or whether there is any more than one ‘will’ in the entire universe. Although our direct experience of the will is limited, our experience of the phenomenal world which reflects will is not, and offers Schopenhauer many insights into the distribution and nature of will. In his The Will in Nature (1836) Schopenhauer noted that evidences of will can be seen in both the anatomy and the behaviour of plants and animals. He considered the emphasis of Linnaean botany on the sexual organs of flowers to be consistent with the idea that the noumenal will of beings like plants can manifest itself in specifically different anatomies. And Schopenhauer considered many forms of behaviour, especially aggressive and sexual behaviour, as phenomenal representations of a noumenal will. Instead of being attacked for his heterodox ideas, Schopenhauer was simply ignored for most of his life, despite the great vigour and clarity with which he wrote. It was only in 1852 that Fortlage devoted some space to Schopenhauer in his history of German philosophy, which led to a discussion of Schopenhauer in The Westminster Review of 1853. (At that time this periodical was edited by Marian Evans, not yet ‘George Eliot’, but already a close friend of both Spencer and Lewes.) From all accounts, this British publication of 1853 put Schopenhauer on the intellectual map, and his uniquely pessimistic ontology became as important in the 1850s and 1860s as Hegel’s objective idealism had been in the preceding two decades. Despite the suddenness and intensity of the new-found interest in Schopenhauer, his was a philosophy to be condemned by all but a very few. Not even the thoughtful reviewer of the Westminster could resist attacking Schopenhauer’s beliefs. The same reviewer who understood and was willing to state that ‘[a]ccording to the consistent Kantis[t], physical theology, with its high priests Durham and Paley, is but an amiable absurdity, based on an illegitimate extension of the law of cause and effect to an object which lies beyond its jurisdiction’—was by no means willing to consider Schopenhauer’s main ideas with equanimity. The review ends with a strong caveat: ‘those who construe any of our remarks into an acceptance of such a system of ultrapessimism have totally misapprehended our meaning’. Schopenhauer is labelled ‘genial, eccentric, audacious, and, let us add, terrible’ and ‘We only wish we could see among the philosophers of modern Germany a writer of equal power, comprehensiveness, ingenuity, and erudition, ranged on a side more in harmony with our own feelings and conviction than that adopted by this misanthropic sage of Frankfort’. Many writers were to attempt to fit this request, most especially those associated with the rise of modern psychology, such as Helmholtz and Wundt. Not all critics of traditional metaphysics were as outspoken as Schopenhauer. One of the most effective and influential critics of early nineteenth-century thought, Johannes Müller (1801–58) has long been seen as a conservative. This view of Müller is an inheritance from his students’ time. Müller perhaps has had the oddest misfortune of any scientist: to be so eclipsed by his students (among them Helmholtz and Du Bois Reymond) that his views are rarely evaluated on their own. Müller’s physiology was a unique combination of the best of German Naturphilosophie with Müller’s own interpretation of Spinoza. Although he explicitly renounced Spinoza’s metaphysics, it is unclear whether he genuinely meant to distance himself from Spinoza or from the troubles associated with being a Spinozist. In any event, much of Müller’s philosophy in his tremendously influential Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen (Elements of Human Physiology) (1834–40) reflects a careful assimilation of specific doctrines of Spinoza’s Ethics into nineteenth-century life science. For psychology, Müller’s most important contribution was his doctrine of specific nerve energies: that each sensory nerve produces its own unique sensory (subjective) quality. Müller considered this doctrine an updating of Spinoza’s notion that our perceptual ideas are, literally, mental reflections of states of our bodies. It is only because our nerves are material, and set into motion by other material causes, that the specific ideas we get from them can constitute experience of the world: The immediate objects of the perception of our senses are merely particular states induced in the nerves and felt as sensations… but inasmuch as the nerves…are material bodies…they make known to the sensorium, by virtue of changes produced in them by external causes, not merely their own condition, but also properties and changes of condition of external bodies. The information thus obtained by the senses concerning external nature, varies in each sense, having a relation to the qualities or energies of the nerve. Müller, like Shelley (whom he never read) and Spinoza (whom both read), believed that every natural occurrence exists as an effect of a series of causes, and that one can ‘work backwards’ from effect to cause, given enough knowledge. Our nervous systems, Müller claimed, are built with such knowledge that when they feel their own states they also learn something of the external world. The former (internally oriented) aspect of feeling is sensation (in Reid’s sense) and embodies Müller’s specific energies hypothesis; the latter (externally oriented) aspect of feeling is perception, which Müller saw as based on the former. Unlike Reid and Kant, Müller argued that it is possible to explain how perception emerges from sensation. Once we know what kinds of changes occur in each sensory nerve we can offer hypotheses as to how these changes can be interpreted as the effects of specific causes, and thus how knowledge of the changes constitutes knowledge of the causes. This is strikingly like the theory found in Schopenhauer’s Four-fold Root (1817) and Descartes’ Optics (1637) for that matter, although it is unclear whether Müller was directly influenced by those works. Where Müller differed from both Schopenhauer and Descartes was in his insistence that the nervous system—and all animate matter— embodied a non-physical force, a vital principle. This vital principle, Müller believed, acted differently from ordinary physical matter, and could in fact cause ordinary physical matter to behave in ways inexplicable by the laws of physics or chemistry. It is instructive to note that traditional metaphysics would have had a considerable basis on which to criticize Müller. Take, for example, his well known account of voluntary action: ‘The primitive fibres of all the voluntary nerves being at their central extremity spread out in the brain to receive the influence of the will, we may compare them, as they lay side by side in the organ of the mind, to the keys of a pianoforte on which our thoughts play or strike’. Both Kant and Reid would have blanched at the calm with which Müller proposed to spatialize the mind, and to locate it within a particular region of space as well. With Johannes Müller we have a scientist whose particular conceptual innovations— the specific nerve energies hypothesis and the motor keyboard—dominated later thinking long after his ontological views were in disrepute. This can be contrasted with Schopenhauer, whose own knowledge of botany and zoology is now obviously woefully out of date but whose metaphysical views keep resurfacing around different areas of modern science. Gustav Fechner (1801–87) offers a third prospect: someone whose main work is almost totally unknown, and who is nowadays revered for an innovation he himself considered a rather minor incident in a busy career. Fechner, like Müller, offered a kind of Spinozist metaphysics. But, whereas Müller emphasized Spinoza’s quasi-pantheism, Fechner emphasized Spinoza’s views on substance, in particular his ‘dual aspect’ theory of mind and body. Fechner combined this dual aspect metaphysics with a kind of generalized atomism, in which he claimed to be able to show in particular how both electricity and mental force were constituted atomically. Fechner argued that the modern physical world view showed only one side of the universe, the mechanistic side, the interplay of the atoms according to laws of physical mechanism. But another side of the universe existed, the subjective, living side, the mental atoms. Fechner went so far as to speak of a ‘day view’ (which acknowledged life and mind) and a ‘night view’ (which did not). Fechner had come to his atomistic views as a professor of physics in Leipzig. The atomism and invocation of hypothetical forces found throughout the works of such figures as Müller, Fechner and Lotze was very much of a piece with contemporary trends in the physical sciences. When the new generation of physical theorists emerged—with Helmholtz, Hertz and Du Bois Reymond at their head, much of what counted as ‘scientific positivism’ was aimed at eliminating these hypothetical atomistic and dynamic concepts, in psychology as well as in physics. Wundt and other early self-styled experimental psychologists did not abandon Fechner’s dual aspect theory—on the contrary, they built upon it. However, the first generation of self-styled experimental psychologists wanted nothing to do with the ontological theories of their predecessors. The dynamical and atomistic theories of Hartley, Erasmus Darwin, Herbart, Fechner and Lotze were strongly opposed. Thus, two opposite trends began to emerge: psychological theorists began increasingly to postulate unconscious processes (see pp. 328–35 below) and yet these same theorists claimed to want a psychological science that clung close to phenomena, and criticized earlier psychologists for their unfounded ontological assertions. In Fechner’s case, his psychology was intimately tied to his ontological theorizing. Fechner’s protracted experimentation on subjective after-images in vision damaged his eyes in 1839 and led to what appears to have been an hysterical illness, including some sort of psychosomatic blindness, which forced him to resign his position. In 1843 Fechner regained his ability to see while walking in his garden, and claimed to have seen the souls of the plants there, according to his book of that title (1848). Three years later he published his account of the differences between the day-view and night-view, and also his theory of life after death in his Zend-Avesta, the appendix to which inaugurated psychophysics as a sub-discipline of psychology. Basing his speculation on Helmholtz’s recent account of the conservation of forces, Fechner argued that both physical and mental forces must be conserved in the universe. In particular, if physical force was to be conserved, then there would have to be a lawful relation between psychological and physical states. This study of the quantitative relationship between stimulus energy and sensations Fechner derived by generalizing Weber’s work and called ‘outer psychophysics’. Of more interest to Fechner was ‘inner psychophysics’, which would be the study of the relation between mental events (sensation) and their neurophysiological correlates—but Fechner’s claims to be able to analyse these relations were almost universally dismissed as mere speculation, in contrast to his psychophysical techniques which were both emulated and modified. Fechner argued that physical laws were of linear form, whereas the psychophysical laws were not, but few nineteenth-century thinkers were wiling to accept non-linear relationships as ‘simple’ enough to be lawful. The difference between the souls of animals and plants is that the former have brain structures that allow more complex psychophysical interrelations. And not only are plants ensouled according to Fechner, but so is the earth—a sort of nineteenth-century ‘Gaia’ hypothesis. The earth responds to physical stimuli with the most intricate vibrations and adjustments conceivable, Fechner noted, although it lacks a brain and hence lacks some of the more complex psychophysical relationships. However, we who live upon the earth are part of it, and we contribute to its life and mind as if we were its sense organs, at least as long as we live. Moreover, when we die, our perceptions and memories do not die with us but find some echo in the myriad subtle adjustments of the earth to physical stimuli, and so there is a form of life after death. It is ‘inner psychophysics’ which explains these relationships among physical states (neural or earthly) and mental states—and it is Fechner’s inner psychophysics which had no life after his death. R.H.Lotze: last of the traditional metaphysicians? Traditional metaphysics died out for two reasons. Firstly, it was institutionally ill-adapted for the increasingly professionalized and specialized academia that emerged all around Europe at first slowly after 1848, and then more rapidly after 1871. Secondly, as professionalization increased so did secularization, and appeals to either authority or intuition, which both tacitly and explicitly had guided the work of Cousin, Stewart and others, could no longer succeed. Ultimately, agnosticism replaced transcendentalism among professional elites, and traditional metaphysics was replaced by what was typically called scientific positivism. This scientific positivism in its purest forms always maintained that the true nature of either matter, the soul or the deity were unknowable. In this regard scientific positivism should be distinguished from Comtean positivism, and even from Spencerian positivism, as both of those thinkers imagined that they had more knowledge of the transcendental—of what Spencer chose inconsistently to call ‘the unknowable’—than was allowed by the agnostics. The success of scientific positivism in the latter part of the nineteenth century may be attributed to its allowing for extended scientific activity without provoking any direct conflict with religious doctrine. Thus it was an ideology well suited to developments in a Europe increasingly reliant upon scientific advances. However, scientific positivism was far better suited to maintaining rapprochement between physical science and religious orthodoxy than between biological or, especially, psychological science and mainstream religious beliefs. It is one thing for a Mach or a Hertz to deny that physics can understand what matter or forces are, beyond describing the laws of their phenomena; it is quite another for psychologists to limit their science to mapping mental phenomena, and to proscribe the search for how the brain is the mind. The parallel with Darwin is here very striking. The scientific positivists (including Darwin’s ‘bulldog’ Huxley) argued that Darwinian results spoke neither for nor against belief in God. They took this to be just another instance of their agnosticism. How can one know, they argued, that the causes and effects lumped into the term ‘natural selection’ do not have, as some sort of hidden or transcendent cause, a deity? Darwin repeatedly resisted this sort of argument, and for good reason. One of the key rationales for his theory was a critique of teleological biology, of the argument from design. In numerous ways Darwin showed that the hypothesis of design might be treated as a scientific hypothesis, and that many facts undermined it as a scientific hypothesis; facts that were better explained by Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Perhaps the best known instance of this sort of discussion in Darwin is the conclusion to his Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication. Here Darwin was confronting the well developed design arguments of the noted botanist (and good friend of Darwin) Asa Gray. Gray proposed that even though evolution proceeded by natural selection, divine design might play a role through the biasing or channelling of genetic variation. Instead of chance, a deity might guide variation in certain directions, so as to pre-adapt animals and species to the rigours of new environments. Neither Darwin nor Gray argued that such an hypothesis was unacceptable because it touched on the actions of the unknowable deity. On the contrary, they examined the implications of this ‘guided variation’ hypothesis, and Darwin was able to show that none of the predictions which followed from this hypothesis were borne out. Like Darwin, many psychologists of this era were inclined to try and specify how brain states caused mental states, or the reverse. For example, Johannes Müller unabashedly suggested that the soul plays on the motor cortex as if it were a piano keyboard. But does it? Darwin was able to show that God does not design animals as people design clocks. Could a psychologist show that the soul does not move the body the way people move objects? An attempt at doing just this was made by R.H.Lotze (1817–81), one of Müller’s most cogent critics. Although Lotze criticizes Müller, he cannot bring himself completely to abandon teleological thinking in psychology, or even a deity acting in the world. In many ways Lotze is a transitional figure, illustrating a way out of traditional metaphysics that was never to be completed. Lotze is transitional in a second sense. He was not a specialist, although he did become a professional academic. Trained originally in medicine, he studied with both founders of psychophysics, Weber and Fechner, at Leipzig (where they taught physics). Indeed, while he was teaching medicine and philosophy at Leipzig in the early 1840s he also acted as Fechner’s physician. In 1844 Lotze was called to take Herbart’s chair of philosophy at Göttingen, and in 1881 he was called to the prestigious Philosophy Chair in Berlin, but died soon thereafter. He made his name in the 1840s with physiological works attacking Müllerian vitalism, but then proceeded in the 1850s to attack the emerging materialism from a position strikingly at variance with that of the ultimately more succesful dual aspect theorists. Lotze’s attack on vitalism was very straightforward. The idea of special powers or forces could be used to prevent inquiry and to encourage sloppy thinking. Lotze here relied on Weber and Fechner’s concept of a science (based on physics): science as the establishment of quantitative laws relating phenomena. There is no ‘life force’ but there are special and interesting phenomena of life, which must be analyzed and reduced to lawful arrangements. Up to this point Lotze’s arguments were not particularly unique, although he was among the earliest to make them against Müller and what he saw as Schellingian or Romantic biology. Where Lotze’s own views set him apart is in the next stage of his thinking, summarized in his Medizinische Psychologie (Medical Psychology) of 1852. Lotze now argued that the mind/body problem was resolvable through his view of science. Both mind and matter could be treated as phenomena emanating from a single set of forces (not substances). Lotze pointed out that it is changes in forces acting upon us that make us believe in matter (resistance) and, he claimed, it is changes in a certain kind of force that make us believe in mental states as well. Later, in his Metaphysic, Lotze went so far as to claim that We might…speak of the soul as a definite mass at every moment when it produces an effect measurable by the movement of a corporeal mass. And in doing so we should be taking none of its immateriality from it; for with bodies also it is not the case that they are first masses and then…produce effects; but according to the degree of their effects they are called masses of a certain magnitude. (Book III, chapter 5) While Lotze’s theory of the soul as possessing equivocal mass did not catch on, one of the implications he drew from this theory did indeed catch on and continues to influence psychological theorizing. This was Lotze’s theory of ‘local signs.’ From his theory of the soul, Lotze argued that the soul cannot be influenced by the spatial layout of the nervous system but only by its intensity of activity at any given point. Following Müller’s early localizationism, Lotze argued that cerebral activity in different locations did, as Müller suggested, produce different mental states (for example, activity in one region of cortex generates visual sensations, in another region auditory sensations). But all the soul could know of this activity was its intensity, the locus of that intensity, and changes in intensity at that locus. The soul could not directly intuit layouts of varied intensity in the nervous system. Knowledge of the locus of activity was the ‘local sign’ of a mental state, which would co-exist with knowledge of the intensity of that state, and all changes in intensity of that state. Associationists like Steinbuch in Germany and Brown or James Mill in Scotland had made somewhat similar arguments, claiming that the soul’s activation of muscles would provide it with information about bodily loci that would be correlated with sensory input, but Lotze’s theory was not associationistic (except in the sense that it invoked an innate association) and focuses on central activity, not a response-producessensory- activity cycle. Lotze also emphasized that the mental processes involved here are unconscious, thus blocking introspective analyses of these ideas, and promoting his kind of speculative physiology. Lotze’s ‘local signs’ theory in various forms (some much more associationist and empiricist than his) has exerted considerable influence in sensory physiology ever since its enunciation. Interestingly, Lotze’s other critique of Müller, also based on his theory of the soul, has been rather influential but much less well acknowledged. In his magnum opus, Microcosmos, Lotze took on the ideological view of the soul, although he did not completely eliminate it. He argued: We deceive ourselves, when with a favourite simile we compare the body to a ship—the soul to its steersman. For the latter knows, or at least may know, the construction of that which he directs… Far from possessing this comparatively perfect insight into the working of the machine, the soul, on the contrary, is like a subordinate workman, who knows indeed how to turn one end of a winch… but understands nothing whatever of the internal transference of movements by means of which a completed product is turned out. Explicitly attacking Müller’s analogy of the motor cortex to piano keyboard, Lotze added that the soul simply would not know what the notes were, nor where they were. The soul ‘is ignorant of the relative situation of these notes, it knows not that this and not another note corresponds to the particular movement which it intends to make’. Astonishingly, this important argument remained essentially unheard for nearly a century, although it has recently been taken up in discussions of motor control. Lotze followed this argument up by asking what sort of information the soul might have about movement, and in doing so he anticipated James’s theory that the willing of movements derives from memories of movements. ‘We bend our arm, not by giving a particular impetus to each of its several nerves, but by renewing in ourselves the image of the feeling which we experienced in a similar position’. Thus for Lotze the soul can act within itself, calling up a memory, or noticing a local sign, but it cannot act on the body. Instead, the soul’s internal actions simply cause correlated bodily movements. There is an appeal here to something halfway between Leibniz’s pre-established harmony and James’s doctrine of ideo-motor action. Somehow the soul’s own actions lead to appropriate bodily actions, and the way this happens is that an idea of action causes the bodily effects. The soul ‘does not itself carry out the operation, but in a manner unknown to it the vital mechanism executes it commands’. Thanks to the doctrine of local signs the soul can also learn about the body’s pattern of responses to stimuli: even when the body is acting on its own, the soul can keep apprised of changes of activity at different loci and register the feelings involved in particular actions. Lotze thus stands as the source of two very different developments in psychological science. On the one hand, students of motor and sensory physiology began at this time their quest for locating pathways and correlations of local activity, without concern for the question as to what the soul was willing or perceiving in those activities. Studies of how localized stimulation of cortex generate specific movement patterns are good examples of trying to examine how the ‘vital mechanism’ translates mental cause into bodily effect. The assumption that the central activity is tantamount to a ‘command’ of the soul was, following Lotze, still made, even though there could now be no question of mental content in that command. What would be the mental content of an efferent pattern exciting contraction in a muscle unknown to the mover? On the other hand, students of ideo-motor behavior could analyse patterns of mental activity, asking questions about cause and effect among ideas (for example, what causes an idée fixe and/ or its accompanying obsessive behaviour?) without concern for the neurophysiological substrate of this activity. Lotze’s influence among practising psychologists and neurophysiologists, although not acknowledged, seems to have been considerable. THE THREE UNCONSCIOUSNESSES AND HOW THEY GREW From the study of mind to the analysis of the unconscious The idea of unconscious mental processes, or even of the unconscious as some sort of an entity, was by no means original with Freud. On the contrary, many thinkers at the turn of the nineteenth century were pondering the nature of the unconscious. However, the unconscious of the ‘romantics’—especially that of Schelling and Naturphilosophie, The nineteenth century 272 which so influenced German literature—was as much ontological as psychological. In a theory so inchoate as to defy easy description, many of these Romanticists equated the physical forces (fluids?) of electricity and magnetism with irrational urges and vague feelings, some of oneness with nature, others of a far less ethereal longing for oneness. Despite his loathing for Schelling and Fichte, it is clear that Schopenhauer’s very carnal will emerged as a coherent ontological response to the irrationalism these writers were parading as a successor philosophy to the Kantian critique. (Probably Maine de Biran’s metaphysics has a similar background.) With philosophers, speculative physicists, Brunonian doctors, mesmerists and animal magnetizers claiming to have an analysis of the unconscious and its role in human life, is it any wonder that the Church-vetted professors of philosophy blanched at the idea of a scientific psychology? Traditional metaphysics’s repeated emphasis on introspection as the sole safe method of proceeding in the philosophy of mind or moral philosophy was an attempt to create a boundary between what they saw as sober science and unsafe speculation. The use of physiological methodologies—which we now see as a harbinger of a true, progressive psychology—was equated with these worrisomely unsafe ideas about the irrational nature of the human soul. Mainstream psychological theory 1815–30 was thus committed to the existence of an individual soul, from which all mental phenomena were to be derived. Evidence of the existence and nature of mental and moral phenomena was to be based on introspection. Nevertheless, even introspection raised some difficult questions about how wisely and well God had made our souls. The phenomena of sleep and drunkenness showed obvious ways in which the mind could be made to wander down dark pathways. And the claims of the mesmerists to produce a kind of ‘magnetic sleep’ were also worrisome: could physical agencies produce trance-like states? And, if physical agencies were uninvolved in mesmerism, then did that mean that some psychological force—ultimately to be called ‘suggestion’—was operative? At least three separate strands emerged at this time for the understanding of what we would now call unconscious mental states. In the first line of thought, the unconscious continued to be treated ontologically, and was associated with Kant’s noumena. I call this the supernatural unconscious. On this theory, actions that people make without consciousness, or against their conscious ideas, are treated as being caused by forces that cannot be observed (are not phenomenal but noumenal). Others refused to treat the unconscious as qualitatively different from other natural mental phenomena. (Although some were willing to invent hypothetical natural forces as explanations, such as the Odilic force theory of the 1840s.) There were two kinds of theories of what I shall call the natural unconscious. The first form of the natural unconscious theory focused on the concept of unconscious ideas or mental states: inferring from introspection that a particular mental state ‘had to’ have occurred even though introspection did not reveal the idea. The second form of this natural unconscious theory postulated the existence of a whole unconscious mind, separated off from the conscious one. The contrast is important. Herbart, for example, hypothesized unconscious ideas and to a large degree invented the modern concept of a threshold to explain when ideas ‘came into consciousness’. But Herbart emphasized ideas only, he did not speculate on the existence of an entire unconscious mind, or part of the mind. The third kind of theory of the unconscious was the most radically different from its predecessors. Whereas something like the notion of unconscious ideas can be found in Leibniz, and whereas Stahlians and others (like Whytt) had been willing to postulate parts of the soul not easily accessible to rational consciousness, all these prior theories of the unconscious had treated it as in opposition to the conscious soul. In particular, these theorists tended to treat the conscious soul as the rational soul of Christian dogmatics, and the unconscious as irrational, and certainly as incapable of rational thought. Indeed, where theorists had been inclined to see rational activity of an unconscious sort, they had unanimously attributed it to God’s mind, not to the individuals. For example, Whytt had argued that the ‘sensitive soul’ in the spinal cord was capable of feeling noxious stimuli and acting in whatever way would remove the potential danger to the organism (he had in mind the capacity of a spinal frog to wipe away an acid-soaked tissue placed on its skin). But Whytt emphasized the great difference between this and the rational soul we know through consciousness, which can feel and think many different things. All Whytt’s sensitive soul can do is whatever God has arranged for it to do to preserve our bodies and maintain a harmony among the parts of our organism. Prior to Whytt, Malebranche had argued that such phenomena are in fact instances of God’s thinking, not of our thinking. What Whytt had seen as a God-given ability of the spinal cord to relate stimuli lawfully to responses via a kind of unconscious feeling Malebranche saw as an instance of God’s feeling and acting to enable us to preserve our bodies. As of 1830, the unconscious was considered to be either a supernatural or a natural source of irrational forces; if and when rational but non-conscious acts occurred, they were attributed not to the individual but to his or her maker. John Stuart Mill changed all this by hypothesizing a rational unconscious mind. He had to make such an unusual hypothesis in order to save the associationist psychology which his father had championed, and which he hoped to make the basis of all social thought. A logical unconscious The nineteenth century thus saw the rise of what appears to be a radically novel concept of the unconscious, which I shall call the logical unconscious. In this conception, there are non-conscious mental processes which are identical with, or at least resemble, the process of drawing inferences and making judgements. The logical unconscious emerged in the writings of John Stuart Mill as he engaged simultaneously in defending and improving his father’s associationism and developing a general logical theory consistent with this new improved psychology. Although historians have tended to locate the doctrine of ‘unconscious inference’ in the 1850s and 1860s in Germany (especially in the work of Helmholtz and his erstwhile assistant Wundt), Mill’s Logic is probably the source of this doctrine, and we know that it was read and used by these and other prominent German psychologists. (It is also possible that Mill’s defences of associationism against Bailey, published in 1842–3 and reprinted in 1859, were utilized by these German thinkers.) The proponents of the logical unconscious often appealed to earlier ideas, especially Leibniz’s notion of petites perceptions, as inspiring their thinking. But the resemblance is superficial, as it does not take into account the difference between the already accepted notion of an irrational unconscious and this newer unusual idea of a rational unconscious. These differences will be clarified after I outline Mill’s important innovation and its influence. In working on what was to become his System of Logic, John Stuart Mill faced a set of problems that had yet to be addressed within the kind of associationistic psychology championed by James Mill. In particular, the epistemological context of the younger Mill’s work made it imperative for him to identify the sources of our knowledge of truths. One of the passages in the Logic known to have been written near the outset of John Stuart Mill’s work, and which remained essentially unchanged through eight editions, is the following comment from section 4 of the Introduction: ‘Truths are known to us in two ways: some are known directly, and of themselves; some through the medium of other truths. The former are the subject of Intuition or Consciousness; the latter, of Inference.’ By focusing on the nature of how truths are known, Mill changed the status of sensations in associationistic epistemology. For Hartley, Condillac, James Mill and others, what we call sensations formed the basis of all knowledge, including knowledge of truths, but no sharp line was drawn between sensations as a truth of consciousness and other truths, called inferences by the younger Mill. The consequences of Mill’s distinction here are of profound importance for psychology. If Mill’s distinction is taken as a basis for theorizing, then the first step in any account of a psychological process is to discover what are the intuitions available to subjects. Once a complete list of these intuitions is made, then any other putative knowledge must be inferential—either false or true inference. There are foreshadowings of Mill’s distinction in Berkeley’s concept of minimum sensibles, and in Hume’s basic impressions—but neither in these nor in other cases was the issue one of truth or inference, as Mill made it to be. Logic, for Mill, is the study of the inferences we make from truths already known (as he says at the end of this section of the introduction). This is the source of Mill’s psychologism, his belief that logic cannot be distinguished as a special science without the results of a special branch of psychology: the psychology of sensations. John Stuart Mill’s careful attempt to distinguish between sensations and inferences comes in response to the Scottish common-sense psychologists and their emphasis on intuition, or what many of them preferred to call ‘consciousness’ (a term which the younger Mill used, perhaps grudgingly, in a similar way). But there is an important inversion here: in Thomas Reid’s epistemology the truths of intuition are not identical with sensations. On the contrary, Reid invented the modern distinction between sensation and perception largely so that he might attribute truth to perceptions. Put simply, Reid was less interested in whether or not my sensation of the colour red is true than in whether my perception of this rose as an existing object (which happens to be red) is true. Reid argued that what are true in consciousness are things like my perception of the rose as well as any sensations of colour or scent I might have. This distinction between two aspects of consciousness—sensation and perception—was considerably muddled by the 1830s, when Mill was working on his Logic. As was shown above, Thomas Brown essentially subverted Reid’s distinction, resulting in a theory that relied entirely on sensations and associations. William Hamilton, the last great proponent of ‘Scottish philosophy’ also never understood Reid on this point, and obfuscated the matter greatly with a number of secondary and subsidiary definitions about sub-species of sensation and perception (see his Notes to his edition of Reid). Stuart Mill’s confusion concerning what should count as a truth of consciousness is thus understandable, as he may have been attempting to contrast Hamilton’s (or Thomas Brown’s) thinking with the associationist views of James Mill. In this context, the younger Mill’s attack on Samuel Bailey’s critique of Berkeley is very significant. Mill wrote his essays on Bailey just as the Logic was being completed (1842–3), and he clearly welcomed the opportunity to rethink these basic issues about consciousness and inference. Yet Bailey, unlike other nineteenth-century ‘commonsense’ philosophers, did understand Reid’s distinction between sensation and perception (although Bailey used different terminology from Reid’s). Therefore it ought to be interesting to see how Mill replied to a Reidian attack on some of Mill’s fundamental assumptions. Bailey, like Reid, argued that ‘the perception of outness is a component part of the sensation’ (of vision or touch) (p. 31); Bailey also argued that ‘we cannot explain…why…these tactual and muscular sensations are not felt without a perception of different distances’ just as Reid argued that we could never explain why perceptions (beliefs in objects) accompanied sensations. Starting from this Reidian basis, Bailey proceeded to demolish Berkeley’s theory of vision, as interpreted by associationists like Condillac and James Mill. In that theory, visual sensations are supposed to become associated with tactile sensations in such a way that the perception of distance is achieved, or appears to the subject to be achieved, by means of sight. Bailey’s argument is straightforward: firstly, if one assumes that no sensations (visual, tactile or other) contain information about outness, then outness can never be the result of the association of these sensations. In particular, Bailey pointed out that when we touch objects at different distances we have a variety of tactile sensations as well as perceptions of outness; yet, when we see things at different distances, no matter how hard we try, none of these tactile sensations comes to consciousness. Secondly, if one assumes, as Berkeley did, that touch contains information about depth and outness, and that touch ‘teaches’ vision, what is to stop Bailey from arguing that vision itself contains information about outness (as James later did)? Once again, when we look around we do not become conscious of tactile sensations suggesting outness or associating with visual ones, we simply see outness, a psychological fact, encompassing both visual sensation and perception. Mill’s critique of Bailey started with an attack on the sensation-perception distinction. Following Brown and James Mill, Stuart Mill argued that ‘The sense of sight informs us of nothing originally, except light and colours, and a certain arrangement of light and colours’. Mill needed to start here, because these lights and colours (visual sensations) are the intuitive truths on which all knowledge, for Mill, was based. Yet Bailey had already anticipated this line of attack, noting that there was no empirical evidence for this claim about what we ‘originally see’ (or what might better be called our visual sensations). As Bailey put it, ‘it is certainly true that we see by means of rays directed endwise to the eye, but it is equally true that we do not see the rays themselves either endwise or sideway: we simply see the object’. The evidence for Mill’s claim about basic intuitive truths in sight comes from his analysis of the physiological optics of the eye, not from the evidence of consciousness nor from empirical evidence about what people see— at best, only geometers and opticians see rays of light. Once one accepts Mill’s starting place, then the rest of his argument follows: that there are ‘two powers’ of vision, original (intuitive) and acquired (inferential). From here it is a short step to Mill’s theory of perception, with its striking echo of his Logic in Stuart Mill’s edition of James Mill’s Analysis and Sensations: [T]he information obtained through the eye consists of two things—sensations, and inferences from those sensations: that the sensations are merely colours variously arranged, and changes of colour; that all else is inference, the work of the intellect, not of the eye; or if, in compliance with common usage, we ascribe it to the eye, we must say that the eye does it not by an original, but by an acquired power—a power which the eye exercises, through, and by means of, the reasoning or inferring faculty. The familiarity of Mill’s theory of perception should not be allowed to obscure the novelty and strangeness of his argument: the original powers of the eye, according to Mill, are such as cannot be known through consciousness, because we never do see only light, colours and their changes. Thus, the original powers of a perceptual system are supposed to do two contradictory things: firstly, they are supposed to provide one with the basic intuitive truths on which to build knowledge of the world; and, secondly, they are supposed to be inaccessible to intuition, because of their involvement with complex associations and inferences. For Bailey and other Reidians, the very definition of a sensation or an intuitive truth was something that could be known through intuition or consciousness. Mill had seemed to adopt this definition at the outset of his Logic. But, when pushed into justifying his theory of perception, Mill abandoned this basic tenet, suggesting instead that sensations can be known only through inference. Later, in his Examination of William Hamilton’s Philosophy, Mill adopted Carpenter’s term ‘unconscious cerebration’ and also made explicit his reliance on physiological ‘facts’ for specifying the basic sensations of vision and the other sensory modalities. (Peirce read this as a licence to cut free from introspective psychology altogether, and combined it with Bain’s definition of belief as whatever we are prepared to act on—consciously or not—and invented pragmatism.) It is amusing to see Mill criticizing Bailey for carelessness in distinguishing between ‘what the eye tells us directly, and what it teaches by way of inference’. If Mill were right, then the eye could tell us nothing directly, because it is only through inference that we can know our basic visual intuitions. The rest of Mill’s attack on Bailey consisted in trying to show that Bailey had begged the question by using a word like ‘perception’ when he should have said ‘judgement’ or ‘inference’. But of course it was Mill who begged the question here, refusing to allow Bailey the very distinction on which he built his theory. Bailey repeatedly looked for evidence in consciousness—as Mill told him he should—of the visual and tactile sensations out of which Brown, and the Mills, claimed depth perception was built. Finding no such evidence, Bailey concluded that their theory was wrong. Mill responded that the evidence of consciousness is irrelevant: after all, the original intuitions of both touch and vision can be unavailable to consciousness, at least on Mill’s definitions. This is where Bailey’s second argument comes into play. Bailey repeatedly asked how the association of a tactile sensation with a visual sensation can yield information about outness if neither of the sensations contain such information. Mill actually agreed with this point, but hastened to add that the process involved is more like that of an inference or a judgement than that of mere association. Mill used his chemical analogy to good effect here, arguing that the ‘association’ of several chemicals often yields a distinctively new entity. In addition to unconscious intuitions, Mill was willing to postulate unconscious inferences. Prior to the 1830s the idea of unconscious intuitions or sensations was a rarity, and the idea of an unconscious inference was unheard of. The interaction of Scottish philosophy with Millian associationism produced a greater precision of language in reference to sensations and perceptions, and introduced a whole series of concepts that soon became ubiquitous in nineteenth-century psychology: original powers of perception, as versus acquired; concept of basic sensations; the concept of unconscious sensory states; the concept of unconscious judgements. Reid’s attack on the concept of the association of ideas led to a progressive clarity among associationists, up to and including the elder Mill, who clearly meant association of sensations to be the basic law of his system, even when his language slipped into older terminology. The younger Mill, in attempting to extend associationism into logic and epistemology, was careful to distinguish sensations from perceptions, and took the radical step of divorcing sensations from introspective psychology. Henceforth, sensations could be ‘analysed’ by inference from physiological data about what ‘must be’ the basic sensory qualities of a given system. Once this decompositional analysis was accomplished, then an analysis of the inferences needed to get knowledge of the world from this sensory basis could proceed. Epistemology was cut free from introspection—because, after Mill, the elements of introspective awareness (‘sensations’) were to be analysed in the first place physiologically and, only after this, psychologically. What had begun as the younger Mill’s attempt to defend and extend his father’s introspective associationist psychology now placed ‘the evidence of consciousness’ a distant second in importance. The Frankenstein psychology with its explanation of all of the mind in terms of sensationbased associative processses feared by early nineteenth-century orthodoxy now took a central place in the middle of the century—but as an unconscious, not a conscious process. Mill believed in a psychologistic programme of building ‘logic’ (epistemology and theory of science) on the foundations of physiological psychology. This approach was to reach its high point in the work of Hermann von Helmholtz, who saw his work in physiological optics and acoustics as prolegomena to any future epistemologies. INTERLUDE: 1848 AND ALL THAT The remarkable increase of interest in scientific psychology in the 1850s and 1860s has been almost universally interpreted as the emergence of an experimentally oriented, scientifically grounded discipline of psychology out of what had been a more philosophical psychology. Turner expresses this consensus well when he writes that, in German universities, [U]ntil the last half of the nineteenth century psychology did not exist as an independent discipline, but rather as a subfield of general philosophy. The philosophers who offered lectures in the field readily incorporated experimental physiological results that came to their attention, but they normally developed their psychological views and systems mainly through logical, metaphysical, introspective, or purely experiential considerations…. Beginning in the late 1850s…the older tradition of philosophical psychology began to give place to a new tradition that stressed experimental results and physiological considerations. As with all myths, there is some element of truth here. In Germany, ‘professors of philosophy’ often worked extensively in psychology. Herbart, Fries and Lotze are three important examples. But the odd thing about these thinkers is that they do not really fit our twentieth-century conception of a philosopher. As a consequence, they figure far more prominently in histories of psychology than in histories of philosophy. We should not be fooled by the label ‘philosophy’ applied to these thinkers’ professorial positions, because there is no reason to assume that that word meant in the 1830s and 1840s what it means now. Indeed, the Philosophy Chair at Göttingen was held successively by Herbart, Lotze and G.E.Müller. No one would even attempt to make the case that the last-named ranks as a philosopher in the modern sense of the term, and the case for the first two is not much better. Modern historians are nearly unanimous in agreeing that not a single major philosopher of this period was to be found teaching philosophy in an academic position with the conspicuous exception of Hegel. Nor should it be forgotten that many of the most important contributions to scientific psychology came from academics who held chairs in physics, like Fechner and the Webers, or in medicine and physiology, like Johannes Müller. Although intellectuals based in academia had to conform to the ideological standards of Church and State or risk loss of their livelihoods, this was of course not true of independent intellectuals like medical doctors, industrialists, mechanics or parsons. Thus the pressure of arguments from heterodox psychologies became increasingly great until, with the significant social and political changes wrought by 1848, the whole structure of traditional metaphysics was exploded. It no longer became possible to write about the mind in complete ignorance of current physiology and experimentation; or, to be more precise, any pretensions to scientific status in discussions of the mind required acknowledgement of the ‘Frankenstein’ psychology which had heretofore largely been excluded from the polite company of academic discourse. The ritualistic denunciations of materialism and atheism that pepper the works of traditional metaphysicians (especially their textbooks) became replaced by argumentation. The unthinkable was being thought: metaphysicians were questioning what the role of embodiment might be in psychology. Far from being a marginal doctrine—one that stigmatized its professor as an atheist— Spinoza’s dual aspect theory gradually began to win adherents from many different intellectual backgrounds until, by 1880, it had become the dominant position among scientists concerned with the nervous system and the mind. Attacks upon materialism are common throughout psychological writings in the 1850s and 1860s, from the popular essays of Helmholtz to the positivistic quasi-idealism of the late John Stuart Mill. The flavour of many of these attacks is captured in some remarks in a lecture given by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr (the doctor) to the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Graduates in 1870. The lecture began with a statement that simply could not have been uttered at Harvard a decade earlier: ‘The flow of thought is, like breathing, essentially mechanical and necessary, but incidentally capable of being modified to a greater or lesser extent by conscious effort.’ Such Shelleyan determinism and apparent materialism would have horrified earlier audiences at such an institution had they been allowed to be spoken. (And, in all probability, Holmes’s comments did cause some stir.) But Holmes is no materialist and he repeatedly made clear in his lecture that medical science can and should be indifferent to the conflict between ‘materialism’ and ‘spiritualism’. In other words, the scientific study of the phenomena of thought and action should be divorced from these metaphysical interpretative disagreements. Yet Holmes could not resist showing that he is on the side of the angels, and he ends his lecture making fun of the kind of ‘vulgar materialism’ promulgated by Büchner and others. Can a human person be reduced to what he or she eats and drinks? No, said the good doctor, ‘It is not in this direction that materialism is to be feared: we do not find Hamlet and Faust, right and wrong, the valor of men and the purity of women, by testing for albumen, or examining fibres in microscopes’. After 1848, the bourgeoisie discovered that their morals need not be corrupted by advances in the sciences of human nature—so long as certain ‘interpretations’ of those sciences were kept at bay. The ‘psychology as a natural science’ defended by James had its origins in this spirited demarcation of the transcendental from the natural. The scientists living in a post-1848 world insisted that traditional metaphysics had lost the battle: science had nothing to say about transcendental concerns. ‘Systems’ as such were now the enemy, because any and all philosophical systems smacked of ideology, and strong ideologies in any form (whether that of the backward-looking peasant or aristocrat or the progressive ideology of the new working class) could upset the status quo. The positivism that swept across Europe was by no means Comte’s positivist system but was instead a general antisystemic bias, which itself proved to be more biased against heterodox than against orthodox ideologies. The defeat of the high orthodoxy of traditional metaphysics was thus used primarily as a cudgel against the heterodox: if science could say nothing of the soul, then it certainly could not affirm the materiality of that transcendental creature. We should thus remain ‘agnostic’—to use a term coined by T.H.Huxley to capture just this philosophical suspension of belief. Kant and Reid had of course tried out their version of agnosticism almost a century earlier, and it proved to be a highly unstable position, as we have seen. Similarly the widely touted scientific agnosticism of the late 1800s also succumbed to its own internal contradictions. On the one hand, psychologists like Wundt could not be constrained from at least formulating hypotheses about the nature of mental activities and states. Wundt offered a form of voluntarism that was a sort of optimistic version of Schopenhauer’s world as will. On the other hand, philosophers—and especially the emerging school of neo-Kantians—refused to allow scientists to debar transcendental arguments. The neo- Kantians specialized in turning the agnostic arguments of Helmholtz into a basis for anti- materialist metaphysical theorizing, as the following passage from Lange’s extremely influential History of Materialism attests: this matter, with everything that is formed from it, is only an abstraction from [our mental representations.] The struggle between Body and Mind is ended in favour of the latter…. For while it always remained an insurmountable difficulty for materialism to explain how conscious sensations could come about from material motion, yet it is, on the other hand, by no means difficult to conceive that our whole idea of matter and its movements is the result of an organization of purely intellectual dispositions to sensations. Accordingly, Helmholtz is entirely right when he resolves the activity of sense into a kind of inference. THE DEVELOPMENT OF A POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY Institutional confusion: theoretical convergence The evaluation of intellectual trends in the decade or two following 1848 is decidedly tricky. This period is one in which modern institutional and disciplinary boundaries began to emerge, so it is ridiculously easy to miss important patterns simply by not knowing where to look. Although academic positions become increasingly important during this period, it is conspicuous that many of the great scientists and philosophers of Europe at this time worked outside of academia. Prussia perhaps led the way into institutionalizing and dividing up intellectual work along more or less modern lines. But even in Prussia in the 1850s and 1860s it is not always easy to see where to look for philosophical and psychological activities. For example, the linguistics of Paul, Steinthal and others emerged as a fully-fledged discipline in these decades, with its own professorships and journals. But this ostensibly specialist discipline of linguistics was to later influence an important professor of philosophy, Wilhelm Wundt, who made historical and comparative studies of language and gesture the entry-way into his brand of empirical social psychology. There are signs that an historical and comparative approach to psychology was broadly influential across Europe in these decades after the ‘springtime of the peoples’ and well before the self-consciously historicist arguments of Dilthey and others in the fin-de-siècle period. This historicism was less an emulation of Hegelian ideas—which were in ill repute at this time—than an emulation of Comte’s method. It is not widely appreciated that Comte’s attempt to account for all of intellectual activity through a kind of linear growth and reorganization model spawned numerous attempts to deploy such a model in other areas. Moreover, Comte’s and positivism’s suspicions of hypothetical entities such as forces and atoms was strongly reinforced by developments in physics, which seemed to be pointing away from the usefulness of positing such entities behind the phenomena. Several powerful thinkers tried to amalgamate this positivistic interpretation of scientific laws as merely patterns in phenomena with an historical method for deriving the data of human behaviour. A number of the contributors to historical linguistics took approaches along these lines. Even more relevant for the present account was the work of two thinkers who self-consciously tried to create a psychology out of historical materials and positivist hubris, Hyppolite Taine (1828–93) and Thomas Henry Buckle (1825–62). Both Taine and Buckle argued explicitly that psychological laws could be derived only from historical materials, not from experimental methods. History was said to reveal patterns of behaviour across different situations which, when properly analysed, would yield true laws of human nature. In contrast, Taine and Buckle criticized laboratory-based or introspective-based psychology for its narrow foundation, and its inability to generalize its results. Taine’s monumental History of English Literature (1861) tried to analyse the human mind using evidence from one nation’s history and literary productions. In his remarkable preface to this work, Taine justifies this procedure as being one that is still capable of yielding generalizable results. Buckle’s maddeningly rambling but often insightful History of Civilization in England (1857) is similarly nationalist in intended scope (but Buckle cannot resist a number of continental excursions). Both Taine and Buckle see human nature as a product of nature and culture, a product arrived at through a particular historical progression. G.H.Lewes Looking back over a career which involved four decades’ study of philosophy and literature, Taine wrote, ‘All I have been doing for the past forty years has been psychology, applied or pure.’ But what was psychology in the 1850s and 1860s when Taine first made a name for himself? In those years no one anywhere in Europe could make a living teaching, studying or researching psychology. Yet serious psychology in these decades was being done by a greater assortment of people than ever before: philosophers and doctors but also physiologists, journalists, literary writers, spiritualists, phrenologists, mesmerists and more. The career of G.H.Lewes (1817–78) is doubly instructive concerning the institutional fluidity of psychology in the two decades following 1848. Firstly, Lewes was an important thinker whose considerable body of work repays careful study. More so than in Bain’s much better known writings, Lewes strove to integrate contemporary trends in philosophy, psychology and physiology. He was especially important for showing how contemporary German physiological thought could be integrated with British evolutionism and associationism. Secondly, Lewes was a prolific and effective popularizer. His texts on physiology influenced both Sechenov and Pavlov, as well as countless British scientists. And in his often reprinted biography of Goethe and his equally popular history of philosophy Lewes gave several generations of English-speaking readers their first introduction to recent German and French schools of thought, including both Hegel’s and Comte’s ideas. Despite the demonstrably pivotal position he played in mid-nineteenth-century philosophical psychology, Lewes is nowadays almost invisible in the history of philosophy, and a mere footnote to histories of psychology. Boring devotes only a passing mention to Lewes, seeing him as an evolutionary associationist of less influence than Spencer. More recent histories of psychology either echo Boring or remain silent. Spencer himself credited Lewes with arousing his interest in philosophy (and Spencer almost never acknowledged any form of intellectual indebtedness) so it may be useful to pay more attention to his contribution. One problem with estimating Lewes’s importance is the institutional oddness of the intellectual world of 1840–70 when viewed from the confines of modern academe. Lewes was never anything like a professor or a teacher, nor even more than an amateur physiologist (albeit an amateur who had made it a point to do laboratory work with the likes of Liebig—which perhaps doesn’t quite fit our idea of an ‘amateur’ either). Like Spencer, Lewes was primarily a journalist. He was not merely a contributor to the thriving intellectual journals of Victorian Britain but an editor and founder of several important periodicals, including The Leader, The Westminster Review and The Fortnightly Review. He was also an influential adviser at the birth of both Nature and Mind, two of the first ‘academic’ journals of importance in Britain. Lewes’s interests were always broad, and he made real contributions to drama, literature and biography (his biography of Goethe was the first complete one in any language) as well as in science and philosophy. Lewes’s career offers an image of an altogether different kind of intellectual world from the one that has developed since the 1870s. This is why his work does not fit straightforwardly into any single disciplinary history. But this is just my point: historians of philosophy and psychology cannot assume that the boundaries of their discipline are or were clear, and they certainly should not impose a contemporary view of those boundaries on to the history of their disciplines. Lewes was among the first nineteenth-century philosophers to discuss Spinoza and Hegel in Britain. Lewes’s interest in Spinoza was kindled in the 1830s through conversations with Leigh Hunt (who had learned about Spinoza’s ideas from Shelley twenty years earlier) and perhaps through reading Heine’s work. Lewes’s article on Spinoza in 1843 (printed in The Westminster Review and also as a pamphlet) proclaimed Spinoza to be a pantheist predecessor of Strauss and Feuerbach. Lewes especially emphasized the doctrine of Spinoza’s that came to have great influence on psychology— the idea that spirit and body are merely two aspects of one thing, ourselves, and that the soul is our ‘idea’ of our bodily self. But it was Lewes’s visit to Paris in 1842, where he met both Cousin and Comte, that stimulated his most fruitful transmission of European ideas to Britain. Within a year Lewes was publishing enthusiastic accounts of positivism, and discussing plans with Bain and Mill to translate Comte’s Cours (in the event these plans fell through, but Lewes was later influential in arranging Harriet Martineau’s edition of Comte a decade later). It was at this time (1842–6) that Mill himself was most under Comte’s influence, and considered that his own Logic represented something like a positivist philosophy of science. (A spectacular example of how badly our present disciplinary boundaries apply to the last century is the Mill-Comte correspondence of 1842–3, which is dominated by arguments over whether phrenology is a scientific approach to the study of mind.) Lewes later revisited Comte in 1846, when Comte’s great love, Clotilde de Vaux, was dying, and Lewes was probably the first British ‘Comtean’ to turn away from the man and his increasingly eccentric ideas, focusing instead on a doctrine, ultimately called ‘positivism’. Lewes’s Biographical History of Philosophy appeared in 1845–6, including substantial discussions of German philosophy, especially that of Spinoza, Kant and Hegel, and ending with what can only be called a paean to Comte (later toned down and changed into a positivist credo). This book was as popular as any philosophy text had ever been in Great Britain and the United States. Thus, despite being widely repeated in histories of the subject, the claims of the Oxford Hegelians that they brought German philosophy to Britain (after Coleridge’s failed attempt) are simply false by more than a decade. It is also interesting to see that this popular text championed positivism a few years before 1850. After 1848, Lewes was heavily involved for a time in political journalism (he founded The Leader with Leigh Hunt’s son, Thornton) and in promoting the career of Marian Evans (‘George Eliot’), his spouse. None the less, he also found time to write his first popular book on physiological psychology, followed by a series of increasingly technical works. His popular writings, especially The Physiology of Common Life (1859–60) promoted the kind of everyday materialist physiology found especially in Moleschott and Büchner but eschewed their anti-idealist metaphysics. Instead, Lewes’s positivist views allowed him to remain rather agnostic concerning how sensations and feelings accompanied such everyday physiological acts as eating and focus on what Lewes saw to be facts: the correlations of feeling with physiological processes and bodily activity. This invention of a half-Spinozist, half-positivist physiology of mind was Lewes’s master stroke. Before the century was out this position would come to dominate physiology and psychology all across Europe. Lewes did not remain satisfied with this agnostic position, how-ever. In his multivolume and partially posthumous Problems of Life and Mind (1874–9) Lewes broke with the positivists’ anti-metaphysical stance to suggest what he called a ‘metempirical’ philosophy—a binding of philosophical inquiry to scientific findings. Variants of this position became the dominant credo among late Victorian scientists like Huxley, Tyndall and Clifford, all of whom were friends of Lewes’s. Problems of Life and Mind is a self-consciously magisterial attempt to survey various lines of thought about psychology, and to offer a particular programme of research as a ‘most promising’ course to follow. The treatise is in three parts: a general philosophy of science as applied to psychology (The Foundations of a Creed in two volumes); a study of mind-brain from a dual aspect point of view, emphasizing the physiology of everyday life (The Physical Basis of Mind); and a sketch of a general psychology, describing its scope and limits (The Study of Psychology in two volumes). Lewes did not live to finish this last part, and George Eliot put the manuscript through the press—surely the only psychology text ever edited by a major novelist! Despite its excessive length, there is also much that is not included in Problems. Lewes seems to have been unmoved by the rising tide of experimentalism among continental psychologists. He was familiar with Fechner and Wundt but saw them as marginal figures. Here Lewes’s book was less prescient than that other great text of 1874, Brentano’s Empirical Psychology, which acknowledged Wundt’s importance, if only to take issue with his concept of inner observation. Lewes (like Lotze) was more of a physiological than an experimental psychologist. He was more at home in his extensive analysis of the reflex functions of the spinal cord than in worrying about Weber fractions, or the differences between introspection and inner observation. Lewes’s work on spinal function (much of it based on his own replications and extensions of experiments by Whytt, Müller, Hall, and others, all of them using amphibians vivisected in his own amateur laboratory) exemplified a crucial transition in psychological thinking. For Lewes, spinal reflexes are part of psychology, and issues relating to sensation and even consciousness within the spinal column must be addressed. Lewes berated Huxley for misconstruing the psychological issues raised by studies on reflexes in the latter’s important ‘On the Hypothesis that Animals are Automata’ (1872– 4). Lewes regarded as very wrongheaded this attempt to treat the marvellous adaptive properties of the spinal reflexes as involving absolutely no psychological processes. On the basis of behavioural evidence from many experiments, Lewes concluded that the spinal column mediates many complex and specifically adaptive behaviours, showing striking resemblance to at least some of the behaviour (and consciousness?) of intact animals. According to Lewes, to treat the spinal cord as a reflex mechanism and the brain as a source of mind requires giving exclusive weight to introspective evidence. However, because introspective evidence is, by its nature, not open to public verification and replication, there can be no conclusive test to show the insentience of the spinal cord. The trend in British neurophysiology was towards viewing the brain as a complex— and psychologically rich—reflex apparatus. This view achieved dominance with David Ferrier and Hughlings Jackson. In contrast, Lewes always insisted in treating spinal processes as including a psychological component (for example of sensation). Whether in the spine or in the brain, Lewes felt that an animate response was not just the mechanical effect of a stimulus but included an irreducible psychological factor, such as we would now describe as information processing steps. This emphasis on the psychologically active, dynamic nature of the lower parts of the central nervous system was submerged in later neurophysiology. Although later neurophysiologists acknowledge the role that muscle stretch receptors play in eliciting reflex responses, they simply do not address the question of what sorts of sensations might be elicited at the same time. Lewes’s work was in many ways outdated by the time it was published. With Lewes’s help the journal Mind had begun appearing in 1876, and Brain a year later. Wundt’s laboratory was already active, and psychological laboratories were even beginning to appear in America, where Peirce had begun to study the psychophysics of colour sensations. The study of the physiology (or psychology) of everyday life was being abandoned by specialists who were increasingly focusing on their own pieces in the puzzle of the human mind: experimental psychologists looking at sensations and reaction times, experimental physiologists analysing motor pathways, medical psychologists working with case studies in hysteria, epilepsy and other disorders. Lewes’s death helped to increase this trend toward specialization, as he left money to found a studentship in physiology, explicitly on the German model, a bequest which did much to stimulate the improvement of British work in reductionist physiology over the next twenty years. Ironically, the greatest proponent of a non-psychological analysis of spinal function (combined with a dualistic interpretation of the brain/ mind), C.S.Sherrington, was one of three Nobel-Prize-winning physiologists whose studies were underwritten by Lewes’s bequest. It would take more than half a century for another philosopher to appear with a comparable amount of physiological and psychological expertise and an interest in trying to understand behaviour and mind (Merleau-Ponty). The positivism that dominated Europe by 1879 was much more Lewesian and Helmholtzian than Comtean. With regard to psychology and the study of mind, most socalled positivists were quasi-Spinozists. There was a continent-wide embracing of dual aspect theory that began shortly after 1848 and achieved remarkable hegemony by 1879. It is striking that two of the leading British positivists (in the sense of early proponents of Comte), Lewes and Frederic Pollock, were among the earliest to publish extensively on Spinoza in English. Like Helmholtz, Lewes also attacked the remnants of a Naturphilosophie that insisted on finding hidden forces behind psychological as well as physical phenomena. CONCLUSION The year following Lewes’s death, 1879, is often, if somewhat arbitrarily, treated as the year in which psychology as an experimental science was born. In that year, Wundt’s laboratory became officially supported and active at Leipzig. Within the decade a host of more flexible and ultimately more influential experimentalists’ careers were launched. By 1890 the most important of these scientists’ careers were well established: G.E.Müller in Berlin, Alfred Binet in Paris and Francis Galton in England. These three researchers alone spun out streams of studies on a bewildering variety of topics, from sensory processes to reaction times, from individual differences to memory and cognition. William James’s Principles of Psychology was essentially written over the course of this decade, and published in pieces alongside these experimentalists’ work in the many new professional journals that were appearing. James’s book represents two watersheds—the last great work strongly claimed by both psychologists and philosophers. Professionalization and separation was winning out. Typically, the story is told that psychology as a professional discipline emerged from philosophy, as part of this professionalization, but this is only half right. It is equally the case that philosophy emerged from psychology. In the same decade that Galton, Binet and G.E. Müller (among others) were launching experimental psychology, replacing Mill’s and Helmholtz’s physiological epistemology with a kind of Lewesian positivism wedded to experimental methodologies, the ‘neo-Kantians’ were attacking ‘psychologism’ in epistemology, and Frege and Peirce were beginning their struggle to de-psychologize logic. Psychology thus became a science unlike any other: a science without any ontological commitments, perpetually stuck within the anti-ontological climate of the 1870s. While chemistry and physics went on to mature out of this phase—leading to the great developments of 1900–10 (physical atoms, electrons, photons, the first quantum theory)—psychology maintained a deep aversion to all ontological theorizing. Ultimately, this led to that combination of behaviourism and ‘operationalism’ which dominated so much thinking about ‘the mind’ in the twentieth century. At the same time as psychology abandoned ontology, philosophers abandoned the natural world. Afraid of a psychologism which threatened to eliminate first philosophy as a ‘pure’ intellectual discipline, a host of philosophical schools rediscovered transcendence, a trend very much in evidence even in the self-proclaimed antimetaphysical scientists, such as Du Bois Reymond, whose famous ‘ignorabimus’ neatly carves out a place for the transcendent. Transcendental arguments in epistemology, metaphysics, and above all in logic, were offered to establish a ‘pure philosophy’ untainted with any odour of quotidian reality. Some transcendentalists saw their salvation in the allegedly pure logical structure of language, others in the transcendental ideal structure at the heart of experience, still others in reviving Kant’s method of transcendental argumentation. The plea offered by James and countless others in the last quarter of the nineteenth century was that we should treat psychology as just another natural science, like chemistry. This plea misses a fundamental point. Unlike chemistry, psychology is about how we think (among other things). And a science of how we think should eventually tell us how to think, at least in the sense that it ought to reveal the laws and causes of good versus bad thinking. Were such a science to emerge it would be, at least in some sense, the queen of the sciences. By century’s end, James doubted whether any such science had emerged, as he stated forthrightly at the outset of his Talks to Teachers. In contrast to James, Wundt, the self-proclaimed founder of experimental psychology, thus insisted on clearly demarcating the content of such a psychology. One could have an experimental science of sensation and response, but not an experimental science of cognition and thought. The study of cognition and other intentional states could be naturalistic, descriptive, historical and comparative, but never experimental and nomothetic. Wundtian experimental psychology, under the strong influence of the later Mill and the German agnostics, was itself definitely anti-psychologistic! Nevertheless, psychologism, in the sense of a master science telling us how we ought to think, was a strong presence throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century. It required an odd mixture of Platonism (in Frege) and neo-Kantianism (in Peirce and Wittgenstein) to eradicate psychologism in logic. And it required the very different geniuses of Russell and Husserl to eradicate psychologism in early twentieth-century philosophy. The fact that psychologism has returned, in the guise of artificial intelligence and cognitive science, suggests that the Victorian agnostics, like Kant and Reid, were unable to make their antimetaphysical claims stick. It is intriguing that this oscillation between naturalism and anti-psychologism seems yet again to be pro-ducing new disciplines. If history is any guide, this cycle should continue. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This research was supported by grants from Franklin & Marshall College. I thank my Research Assistant, Sherry Anders, for consistently cheerful and unflagging help. It was at Rob Wozniak’s suggestion that I first looked into G.H.Lewes’s work seriously, for which I am grateful. Mike Montgomery gave me various prods and pokes of bibliographic and other advice. Stuart Shanker’s questions, encouragement and suggestions have all been of great help. BIBLIOGRAPHY General reference materials 11.1 Ash, M. ‘Reflections on Psychology in History’, in W.Woodward and M. Ash, eds, The Problematic Science: Psychology in Nineteenth Century Thought , New York: Praeger, 1982. 11.2 Bain, A. ‘A Historical View of Theories of the Soul’, Fortnightly Review, 5 (1866):47–62. 11.3 Baldwin, J.M. 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