History of Psychology done by Psychologists and Historians


Mardi 18 Décembre 2012, 10h30 - 12h30


Collegium de Lyon, 15 parvis René-Descartes, 69007 Lyon, Salle R-143

History of Psychology done by Psychologists and Historians

During the last 30 years even regarding psychology two rival conceptions of making a history of the discipline developed. I shall contrast these two attitudes as an example for all recent disciplinary history making. The classical history writing done by the profession (Boring, Fraisse) follows socialization purposes: educating and indoctrinating the next generation. The new history writing starting by Ben-David and  Kurt Danziger and continued by Mitchell Ash, Martin Kusch, Roger Smith studies psychology both as profession and as science using classical historical methods and frames. Archival research is used along large scale social philosophy to reveal e.g. why is search for meaning so central in Weimar Germany, or what is the underlying social reason in the success of the notion of inhibition.


Though their relationship was many types interpreted as the issue of internalism versus externalism, I shall argue with examples that the two attitudes are complementary to each other, and neither can entirely escape the ‘trap’ of values. Both professional historians and disciplinary historians presuppose that one has to deal with three contexts when interpreting the formation of ideas and practices: social influences have a general effect on the fate of ideas, but ideas are also shaped by the ideas of others, and all of this happens in the dynamics of individual lives. I shall show some examples for this complementary attitude. One example is the fate of animal conditioning as a reflection of deterministic social practices; the other is the shaky carrier of the child study movement in different social contexts.


Sciences du langage et linguistique
Psychologie, psychiatrie et psychanalyse
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