Remaking the Science of Mind: Psychology as Natural Science

Gary Hatfield

in Inventing Human Science

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780520200104
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916227 | DOI:
Remaking the Science of Mind: Psychology as Natural Science

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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

Chapter.  22471 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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