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Inventing Human ScienceEighteenth-Century Domains$
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Christopher Fox, Roy Porter, and Robert Wokler

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780520200104

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520200104.001.0001

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Remaking the Science of Mind: Psychology as Natural Science

Remaking the Science of Mind: Psychology as Natural Science

Chapter:
(p.184) Seven Remaking the Science of Mind: Psychology as Natural Science
Source:
Inventing Human Science
Author(s):

Gary Hatfield

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520200104.003.0007

Although the philosophers of the seventeenth century rejected the Aristotelian theory of the soul as the substantial form of the body, they did not always deviate from the Aristotelian conception of physics as the science of nature in general, including the human mind. The equation of natural science with antimetaphysical, quantitative experimentation is problematic on two counts. As an approach to history, it partakes of the worst failings of “presentism”; it ignores the self-understanding of earlier figures who considered themselves practitioners of natural science. Philosophically, it makes a crude positivist assumption that all progress in science is progress in the quantitative description of natural phenomena. This philosophical position should be resisted: not all natural scientific achievements are fundamentally quantitative, including achievements in two sciences that are closely related to psychology, namely, physiology and biology.

Keywords:   Aristotle, psychology, natural science, biology, physiology, physics

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