chapter  4
43 Pages

The ambitions of a philosophical psychology

THE PHRASE Hphilosophical psychology" can be taken in two very different senses, only the second of which will concern us. The first covers every form of psychology developed by thinkers who were also philosophers. The phrase "philosophical psychology" as thus used has no intrinsic significance, for before the emergence of a scientific psychology philosophers have either been concerned with purely speculative inquiries, using psychological data as a starting point for metaphysical developments, or with the beginnings of concrete psychology, the forerunner of the future positive psychology, or with both at once. F. L. Mueller in a recent book on L'histoire de la psychologie de l'Antiquite a nos jours, some theses of which will be critically examined in Chapter Five, has excellently portrayed the main features of the psychology elaborated by the great philosophers, with which we shall not be concerned here. But it is important to avoid all ambiguity and to recall clearly (cf. also Chapter Two under B) that, if scientific psychology only began in the nineteenth century in an experimental form, it has over a long period been prepared by more or less methodical or accidental observations.