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[Xmca-l] Re: Peter Jones bookmarked a fascinating article by Craig Brandist on Academia.edu.

Thank you for sharing Larry, Mike and Greg, useful and welcome materials
and discussion. That intro excerpt is very familiar to me, Mike, very
influential as I was finding ways to connect philosophy, psychology and
anthropology. I'm interested to know more about the
Völkerpsychologie influence on the Soviet thinkers so familiar to this
discussion board (albeit only somewhat familiar to me). This thread reminds
me of a similar one about a year ago.

I'm trying to finish two current writing projects of mine on the legacy of
JG Herder's thought in South Africa. Maybe of interest to those of you with
a ken for intellectual history of anthropology, and the role of missionary
practice in that history. I'll be glad to share once they are out.

There's a good and very relevant book edited by Stocking about the lineage
you mention, Greg, particularly a chapter by Matti Bunzl
discusses the tarnished legacy discussed in the article you link.


Andrew Babson, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

> On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>> The volker psychology of the 19th Century is very much a part of the issue
>> of "the two psychologies" that get discussed in the various crises tracts
>> of the 1920's. Here is part of what I wrote about these issues in the
>> introduction to *Cultural Psychology. *
>> *hit delete now if not interested!  *
>> mike
>> *The Völkerpsychologie movement*. Mill's ideas, along with those of von
>> Humboldt, were seized upon by Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal, two
>> German scholars. In 1860 Lazarus and Steinthal began to publish the
>> *Zeitschrift
>> fur Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenshaft* (Journal of Cultural
>> Psychology and Philology), a journal which presented itself as a forum for
>> reconciling the natural and cultural/historical sciences (Jahoda, 1992;
>> Jahoda and Krewer, 1991; Whitman, 1984). They were strongly influenced by
>> von Humboldt and explicitly noted the similarity between their version of
>> Völkerpsychologie and Mill's concept of Ethology. The pages of the
>> *Zeitschrift* contained articles by leading historical, philological and
>> anthropological scholars of the day.[1] These contributions provided
>> analyses of language ("Exclamation, question and negation in the Semitic
>> languages") myth ("On the relation between myth and religion"), and other
>> cultural phenomena (arithmetic systems, proverbs, calendrical devices,
>> folk
>> medicine, etc.). All were intended to contribute to explaining differences
>> in "Völksgeist" in a manner that was simultaneously scientific and
>> historical.
>> Lazarus and Steinthal's effort to reconcile the schism between the natural
>> and cultural sciences was heavily criticized because they ignored the idea
>> of mental chemistry and began to claim that it is possible to apply data
>> obtained from the study of individual minds to the formulation of strict
>> explanatory laws of culture and historical phenomena, precisely the move
>> that Mill had shown to be flawed.
>> *Descriptive Psychology*. Wilhelm Dilthey, whose work continues to
>> influence a vast range of contemporary scholarship in what can be broadly
>> characterized as cultural studies, sought to reconcile the natural and
>> cultural sciences. Psychology, he believed, should serve as the
>> foundational science for all of the human sciences (philosophy,
>> linguistics, history, law, art, literature, etc). Without such a
>> foundational science, he claimed, the human sciences could not be a true
>> system (Dilthey, 1923/1988, 1977).
>>      Early in his career, Dilthey considered the possibility that
>> experimental psychology might provide such a foundation science. However,
>> he gradually came to reject this possibility because he felt that in
>> attempting to satisfy the requirements of the *Naturwissenshaften* for
>> formulating cause‑effect laws between mental elements, psychologists had
>> stripped mental processes of the real‑life relationships between people
>> that gave meaning to their elements. He did not mince words in his attack
>> on the academic psychology of the late 19th century:
>>    Contemporary psychology is an expanded doctrine of sensation and
>> association. The fundamental power of mental life falls outside the scope
>> of psychology. Psychology has become only a doctrine of the forms of
>> psychic processes; thus it grasps only a part of that which we actually
>> experience as mental life (quoted in Ermath, 1978, p. 148)
>> Dilthey proposed a different approach to the study of psychology, one
>> which
>> harks back to Vico's prescriptions for the study of human nature as an
>> historically contingent phenomenon. Dilthey believed that since it
>> encompasses only a part of mental life, explanatory psychology must be
>> subordinated to a historical-social approach that studies individuals in
>> relation to their cultural systems and communities (Dilthey, 1894/1977).
>> He
>> called this approach *descriptive psychology*. It was to be based on an
>> analysis of real‑life mental processes in real‑life situations, including
>> both the reciprocal processes between people and individuals' thoughts. As
>> methods for carrying out this kind of analysis, Dilthey suggested the
>> close
>> study of the writings of such "life‑philosophers" as Augustine, Montaigne,
>> and Pascal, because they contained a deep understanding of full
>> experiential reality.
>> *Wundt's compromise*. The system of psychology proposed by Wundt adopted
>> the strategy proposed by Mill: recognize the fact that two different order
>> of reality are involved, and create two psychologies, one appropriate to
>> each. On the one hand there is "physiological psychology," the
>> experimental
>> study of immediate experience. The goal of this half of the discipline was
>> to explicate the laws by which elementary sensations arise in
>> consciousness
>> and the universal laws by which the elements of consciousness combine. The
>> label "physiological" for this half of Wundt's enterprise is somewhat
>> misleading because experiments carried out in its name rarely involved
>> physiological measurement. Rather, it was believed that the verbal reports
>> of subjects who were carefully trained in methods of self‑ observation
>> (introspection) would yield results that could eventually be traced to
>> physiological processes. Experiments conducted with this goal in mind
>> concentrated on *elementary* psychological functions, meaning the
>> qualities
>> of sensory experience and the components of simple reactions.
>> On the other hand, Wundt initiated a mammoth investigation of *higher*
>> psychological functions, functions resulting from the fusing and
>> concatenation of elementary functions. Higher functions include processes
>> such as deliberate remembering, reasoning, and language. Wundt, following
>> von Humboldt, called this second branch of psychology,
>> *Völkerpsychologie*.
>> He argued that *Völkerpsychologie* could not be studied using laboratory
>> methods of trained introspection that focus on the contents of
>> consciousness because the higher psychological functions extend beyond
>> individual human consciousness.  So, for example, one could not understand
>> the psychology of language use because
>> A language can never be created by an individual. True, individuals have
>> invented Esperanto and other artificial languages. Unless, however,
>> language had already existed, these inventions would have been impossible.
>> Moreover, none of these has been able to maintain itself, and most of them
>> owe their existence solely to elements borrowed from natural languages.
>> (Wundt, 1921, p. 3)
>> According to this view, higher psychological functions had to be studied
>> by
>> the methods of the descriptive sciences, such as ethnography, folklore,
>> and
>> linguistics. His volumes on this topic  are full of data derived from a
>> broad range of the historical and anthropological accounts about the
>> languages and customs of the world's cultures (Jahoda, 1992; Wundt, 1921).
>> This branch of psychology, he wrote, was supposed to combine
>> into a unified whole the various results concerning the mental development
>> of many as severally viewed by language, religion, and custom (Wundt,
>> 1921,
>> p. 2.
>> Wundt believed that the two enterprises, physiological
>> psychology and Völkerpsychologie must supplement each other; only through
>> a
>> synthesis of their respective insights could a full psychology be
>> achieved.
>> To those who would claim that Völkerpsychologie could be entirely subsumed
>> under experimental psychology Wundt replied
>> Its problem relates to those mental products which are created by a
>> community of human life and are, therefore, inexplicable in terms merely
>> of
>> individual consciousness, since they presuppose the reciprocal action of
>> many.
>>      ...
>> Individual consciousness is wholly incapable of giving us a history of the
>> development of human thought, for it is conditioned by an earlier history
>> concerning which it cannot of itself give us any knowledge. (Wundt, 1921,
>> p. 3)
>> In this connection, Wundt makes an additional methodological claim which
>> is
>> central to the history and current practice of  the study of culture in
>> mind: Völkerpsychologie is, in an important sense of the word, genetic
>> psychology (p. 3); that is, the study of higher psychological functions
>> requires the use a developmental/historical methodology . For this reason
>> he believed that Völkerpsychologie must involve the methods of ethnology,
>> conceived of as "the science of the origins of peoples."
>> Wundt himself did not study ontogeny (the genesis of an individual life),
>> sticking instead to the study of cultural history, so he had little to say
>> about how these two levels of genetic analysis are related to each other.
>> But he believed that the results of such historical research would yield
>> evidence about "the various stages of mental development still exhibited
>> by
>> mankind" (p.4). In reaching such conclusions, Wundt was inheriting the
>> German tradition of cultural-historical philosophy. Völkerpsychologie, he
>> declared, would "reveal well‑defined primitive conditions, with
>> transitions
>> leading through an almost continuous series of intermediate steps to the
>> more developed and higher civilizations (p.4)."
>> Wundt adopted a cultural, not racial, theory of the perceived inequalities
>> in mental products separating primitive and civilized peoples. He was
>> convinced *both* of the superiority of European culture *and* that the
>> intellectual endowment of primitive peoples is equal to that of Europeans.
>> Like Spencer, Wundt believed that it is not intellectual endowment that
>> differentiates primitive and civilized people, but the range of world
>> experiences ("Primitive man merely exercises his ability in a more
>> restricted field"). This narrow range of experiences coincided in Wundt's
>> mind with the image of the primitive person living in the tropics where
>> there is food and fun always at hand, so that the native peoples were not
>> motivated to move outside of "a state of nature."
>> ------------------------------
>>      [1] I am indebted to Bernd Krewer and Gustav Jahoda (1990) for their
>> summary of the contents and context of the work of Lazarus and Steinthal.
>> My discussion is derived from their work (See also Jahoda, 1993).
>> On Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 11:11 AM, Greg Thompson <
>> greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> > Volkerpsychologie also has a substantial influence with the field of
>> > anthropology proper - esp. in the early to mid- 20th century emphasis on
>> > Culture and Personality (e.g., Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Gregory
>> > Bateson, G. Gorer, Abram Kardiner, etc.). By some accounts this may have
>> > been taking up the less productive side of volkerpsychologie (i.e. the
>> one
>> > that leads to stereotypes), but it was nonetheless a BIG part of 20th
>> > century anthropology. (and I suspect with some small tweaks, we could
>> > recover much of the work that was done in this vein).
>> >
>> > Here is another nice resource I found that might be helpful for
>> recovering
>> > volkerpsychologie:
>> > http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/19064/1/19064.pdf
>> >
>> > It traces volkerpsychologie back to the origins in Lazarus and
>> Steinthal,
>> > and forward through Wundt, Simmel, Durkheim, and Boas. It also engages
>> with
>> > the question of anti-semitism that plagued volkerpsychologie (since it
>> got
>> > associated with the third reich).
>> >
>> > Thanks Larry!
>> > -greg
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 11:27 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>> >
>> > > ​Hi Larry --
>> > >
>> > > I also recommend the article to which you point xmcaers. At an earlier
>> > > time, exploration of volkerpsychologie in seeking to understand
>> > > cultural-historical psychology origins was a living theme at LCHC. For
>> > > those who want to know more about this line of work, which remains
>> > relevant
>> > > as Larry notes, I recommend the special issue of the LCHC  Newsletter
>> for
>> > > 1990.  It does not substitute for the article Larry is pointing to.
>> > Rather,
>> > > it provides an account of volkepsycholgie within the context of
>> > > methodologies for the study of the role of culture in development.
>> > >
>> > > It is available here.
>> > > http://lchc.ucsd.edu/Histarch/ja90v12n1.PDF
>> > >
>> > > mike
>> > >
>> > > On Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 7:48 PM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > >
>> > > >
>> > > > Today, I was alerted to a fascinating article that I believe may be
>> > > > interesting to others on this site. On the site academia.edu I
>> > *follow*
>> > > > Peter Jones and he bookmarked  this article written by Craig
>> > Brandist.  I
>> > > > downloaded this article and spent the day learning about the rise of
>> > > Soviet
>> > > > Sociolinguistics from the ashes of Volkerpsychologie.
>> > > > As I was reading the article I was also reflecting on how
>> > > > volkerpsychologie also travelled to North America and influenced the
>> > > > Pragmatists.
>> > > > This article generates a context for the emergence of “objective
>> > > > psychology*  as a response to the *back and forth* of themes that
>> are
>> > > > continuing to be explored  today.
>> > > > I recommend reading this paper.
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > Sent from Mail for Windows 10
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > --
>> > >
>> > > It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
>> > object
>> > > that creates history. Ernst Boesch
>> > >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > --
>> > Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>> > Assistant Professor
>> > Department of Anthropology
>> > 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>> > Brigham Young University
>> > Provo, UT 84602
>> > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>> >
>> --
>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
>> object
>> that creates history. Ernst Boesch