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psychologism


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In the philosophy of logic, psychologism is the view that logic is based upon the laws of thought, where these are descriptions of the actual processes whereby human beings think. Logic becomes not so much a normative discipline, giving laws of truth to which thought ought to conform, but a construction based on patterns to which our thoughts do conform. The term was first used by J. E. Erdmann in 1878, but did not come into general use until the end of the 19th century. Its exact definition is complicated by the various views of psychology prevalent at that period. Psychologism is a natural ally of naturalism, with its general suspicion of any realm of propositions standing in timeless logical relationships. The great opponent of psychologism was Frege, whose conception of the subject did, however, give rise to worries about an apparent Platonism. The approach has gained popularity again with the rediscovery of naturalized epistemology, and with the attempts of Wittgenstein in his later work to find a way of basing logic and mathematics on the natural history of human beings.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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