Annals of Theoretical Psychology by Hans V. Rappard, Pieter J. van Strien (auth.), Hans V.

By Hans V. Rappard, Pieter J. van Strien (auth.), Hans V. Rappard, Pieter J. Van Strien, Leendert P. Mos, William J. Baker (eds.)

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Psychological categories, rules for producing acceptable data, and rules for arranging research situations have all been subject to quite drastic changes, and we have little hope of understanding the constitution of psychological objects without some understanding of these changes. Secondly, the construction of psychological objects is an intentional activity. People are instigated by certain purposes when engaging in this activity or changing it. Of course, the purposes which psychological objects serve need not only be the purposes of those who have produced them.

Part of the historical study of psychological objects is, therefore, concerned with the development of key categories which were eventually appropriated by modern psychology. This type of study stands in sharp contrast to what is still the most common approach to the pre-history of the discipline. That approach is characterized by a thoroughgoing naturalism which assumes that the categories of modern psychology refer to 'natural kinds' that exist as such independently of anything the psychologist might think or do.

This analogy may be quite explicit, as in the various mechanical analogies familiar to historians of psychology; or, more pervasively, the analogy may be implicit, as when the mind is conceived in terms of a population of separate ideas, sensations, or other units which relate to each other much like the independent citizens of a liberal state. In general, principles of psychological organization often seem to have had metaphorical links with principles of social organization, the structure of the one domain functioning as an apparent confIrmation of the structure of the other.

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