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Viljebegreppet och psykologin: En studie av psykologins framväxt som vetenskap i Sverige genom en analys av viljebegreppets betydelseförändring
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History of Science and Ideas.
2008 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to elucidate the process in which psychology was separated from philosophy and established itself as a distinct academic discipline in Sweden. I argue that the concept of will, as well as the concepts of thinking and emotion, have a lot to tell us about the rise of academic psychology in Sweden. This is done through an analysis of psychology textbooks, encyclopaedia-articles and academic texts on the themes will and psychology, from around 1800 till 1950.

Prior to the establishment of the first chair of psychology in Uppsala 1948, the discipline was above all a part of the philosophical discipline. For psychology to become a science of its own, it was crucial to obtain a position among the empirical sciences. It thus had to distance itself from philosophy, and in particular from metaphysics. In that respect the concept of will, thinking and emotion posed a problem. On the one hand, these concepts seamed necessary for a science of the psyche but on the other, they were traditionally associated with philosophy and especially with metaphysics.

From around 1900, the concept of will underwent an empirisation process in which it distanced itself from the metaphysical content of meaning. The idea of thinking, emotion and will as faculties was criticised and replaced by a way of speaking of them in terms of single acts, able to be analysed in a more empirical manner. This change was in accordance with the new demand on empiricism. Within psychology, however, practicians of the trade still spoke in terms of will, thinking and emotion, as well as of classical philosophical problems such as that of the free will, albeit in a more empirical manner.

A second, more profound change, occurred in the 1940s when the concepts of thinking, emotion and will, as well as the problem of the free will were sorted out from the psychological discourse. In light of their long time as an integral part of the psychological discourse it was a significant change that the human psyche was no longer to be discussed in terms of will, thinking and emotion. The most likely explanation of this change is that the institutional split between psychology and philosophy after 1948 also signified a separation between philosophical and empirical-psychological questions. After 1948 it was possible to pursue scientific studies in psychology without any knowledge of philosophy and hence, without an urge to pose philosophical questions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , p. 92
Series
Uppsala papers in history of ideas, ISSN 1654-2592 ; 11
Keywords [en]
Psychology, Philosophy, Thinking, Emotion, Will, Free Will, Determinism
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-103264OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-103264DiVA, id: diva2:217888
Presentation
(English)
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-08-20 Created: 2009-05-18 Last updated: 2010-08-20Bibliographically approved

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