Purpose: At the end of the 18th century, Kant argued that psychology could never be a natural science. By the outbreak of World War I, however, "scientific" psychology could be found almost everywhere -- in government, in hospitals, in the military, in the law courts, and in industry. How did this astonishing transformation take place? This course will examine a wide array of different attempts to render psychology "scientific" during the course of the 19th century, and how they combined to produce in the kind of scientific psychology we actually got in the early 20th century. We will encounter not only such well known psychological "pioneers" as Fechner, Galton, Wundt, and Ebbinghaus, but also important figures who often fail to turn up in "standard" accounts, such as phrenologist O. S. Fowler, mathematician Charles Babbage, embryologist George Corner, physicist Ernst Mach, and philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey. There will also be a focus on significant discipline-forming events such as London's Great Exhibition of 1851, and Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing. Suitable for students from all areas and all levels. Students from other Faculty Graduate programs are welcome.
Student background: Interest in historical, theoretical, and practical problems of psychology.
Format: Lectures by course director, student seminars, class discussion.
Requirements: Oral seminar(s), participation in class discussion, term paper.
Readings: Green, C. D., Shore, M., & Teo, T. (Eds.) (2001). The transformation of psychology: Influences of 19th-century philosophy, technology, and natural science. (Washington, D.C.: APA). Primary source documents TBA.
Evaluation: Participation (25%); Seminar Presentation (25%); Term Paper (50%)
This course is not offered regularly. Given the limited number of courses in the History and Theory program the course is highly recommended for History and Theory students.