American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle in the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy

Thomas Uebel

The two most recent issues of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy include an extended discussion of the relationship between American pragmatism and the Vienna Circle. An initial article from Thomas Uebel has spurred responses from Alexander Klein and Cheryl Misak in the journal’s most recent issue. Uebel has also provided a response to Klein and Misak. All these articles are freely available online. Full titles, authors, and abstracts for all these articles follow below.

“American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle: The Early Years,” by Thomas Uebel. The abstract reads,

Discussions of the relation between pragmatism and logical empiricism tend to focus on the period when the logical empiricists found themselves in exile, mostly in the United States, and then attempt to gauge the actual extent of their convergence. My concern lies with the period before that and the question whether pragmatism had an earlier influence on the development of logical empiricism, especially on the thought of the former members of the “first” Vienna Circle. I argue for a substantially qualified affirmative answer.

“Was James Psychologistic?,” by Alexander Klein. The abstract reads, Continue reading American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle in the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy

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Now Available: European Yearbook of the History of Psychology

The first European Yearbook of the History of Psychology is now available. A list of the Yearbook’s contents follows below and further details on the publication can be found here.

Editorial by Mauro Antonelli

Original Essays
The Status of the History of Psychology Course in British and Irish Psychology Departments
Adrian C. Brock & Matthew Harvey (Independent Scholars, United Kingdom)
Aristotle’s Theory of Self-Perception
Marcello Zanatta (University of Calabria, Italy)

Short Papers
William James Meeting Wilhelm Dilthey
Horst Gundlach (Heidelberg, Germany)
In Search of Animal Intelligence: The Case of the Italian Psychologist Tito Vignoli (1824-1914)
Elena Canadelli (University of Padua, Italy)
Unpublished and Archival Material
Charcot and the Mental Calculator Jacques Inaudi
Serge Nicolas (Paris Descartes University) & Alessandro Guida (University of Haute Bretagne, France)
Procédés psychiques de fixation et de réviviscence des chiffres chez le calculateur Jacques Inaudi
Jean-Martin Charcot (1892)
Giuseppe Guicciardi and Giulio Cesare Ferrari on the Mental Calculator Ugo Zaneboni
Dario De Santis (University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy)
Il calcolatore mentale “Zaneboni”. Contributo alla psicologia delle memorie parziali
Giuseppe Guicciardi & Giulio Cesare Ferrari (1897)

Discussions
Ethology & Psychology
Introduction. Ethology: Ecology and Objectivity
Jannes Eshuis (Open University of the Netherlands)
Lorenz’s Human Ethology: Between the Search for a Human Singularity and the Prophecy of the Apocalypse
Arthur Arruda Leal Ferreira (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Tinbergen’s Striving for Objectivity
Jannes Eshuis (Open University of the Netherlands)
Molarity, Ecological Validity, Objectivity, and the Road to Ethology
René van Hezewijk (Open University of the Netherlands)

Interview
Interview with Mario Zanforlin
Mauro Antonelli & Daniele Zavagno (University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy)

Book Reviews
Roger Smith, Between Mind and Nature. A History of Psychology
Reviewed by Csaba Pleh (Eszterházy Károly College, Eger, Hungary)
Richard T. G. Walsh, Wilfrid Laurier and Thomas Teo, A Critical History and Philosophy of Psychology: Diversity of Context, Thought, and Practice
Reviewed by Zhipeng Gao (York University, Canada)

Obituary
Willem van Hoorn (1939 – 2014)
Johann Louw (University of Cape Town, South Africa) & Kees Bertels (Leiden University, The Netherlands)

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“I’ve been to Dwight” 2016

51obiAJOTML._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Lancaster University, the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, and the Wellcome Trust have organized a conference in Dwight, Illinois for “transnational perspectives addiction, temperance, and treatment in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”

The “I’ve been to Dwight” meeting (July 14-17), is being held at the home of the Keeley Company, the history of which serves as a unique lens to approach the topic:

Though nearly forgotten today, the Keeley Company, based in Dwight, Illinois, distributed its “gold cure” for the alcohol, tobacco and drug habits by post and from franchised clinics across North America, Europe and Australia between 1880 and 1966. The company’s popular, international success ensured that its founder, Dr. Leslie E. Keeley, was among the world’s most famous physicians at the turn of the twentieth century. Keeley however, faced constant accusations of quackery from the forces of professional biomedicine, particularly the BMA and the AMA. Nonetheless, tens of thousands of satisfied patients from around the globe were convinced that his “gold cure” had rid them of their alcohol and drug habits and “I’ve Been to Dwight” was a catchphrase they used to explain their sobriety. After Keeley’s death in 1900, the company worked to conform to shifting standards of biomedical practice, but competition from state-run sanitaria led to its closure in 1966.

Because of its global presence, its difficult relationship with the medical mainstream and its tenacious popularity among ordinary people, marking the closure of the Keeley Company begs many historical questions and it urges us to answer them in broadly critical, comparative and/or transnational terms.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Sarah Tracy, historian of medicine from the Department of the History of Science at the University of Oklahoma.

The conference program can be found here.

The village of Dwight, Illinois is directly in between Chicago and Bloomington, and is a short train ride from the city.

Some further online resources about the Keeley Cure:

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UCL/BPS Talk May 31: “Psychiatrists, Psychiatry and the Colonial State in the first half of Twentieth Century India”

The British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the next talk in their 2016 seminar series. On Monday May 30th, Shilpi Rajpal will be speaking on “Psychiatrists, Psychiatry and the Colonial State in the first half of Twentieth Century India.” Full details follow below.

UCL/British Psychological Society History of the Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

Monday 30 May 2016

Dr. Shilpi Rajpal (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali)

“Psychiatrists, Psychiatry and the Colonial State in the first half of Twentieth Century India” 

By the mid twentieth century some psychiatrists were performing important roles in transforming the nature of psychiatry in India. Wider exposure to international trends was an important feature of the twentieth century psychiatry in India as its enthusiastic practitioners not only travelled widely but also experimented with new methods of treatment. These efforts were frequently confined to individuals and cannot be generalized. The colonial state maintained an apathetic attitude towards the mentally ill and mental illness. Nonetheless, the concept of a specialist emerged in this period. Some of these specialists dedicated their lives to the cause of studying insanity and some of the central asylums became hubs for psychiatric deliberations. These deliberations were among these individuals and the colonial state. These negotiations were sometimes successful but at other times failed. What should be kept in mind is that innovation and interest depended entirely on the zeal of the superintendent-in-charge. His motivation was his own as the government did not have much stake in the process. The change also included bringing psychiatry in India in line with international developments in the field. These changes however should not be understood in terms of teleological growth. The paper attempts to analyze the novelties in terms of psychoanalysis and other international factors such as the mental hygiene movement.  It focuses on debates in the official circles, and juxtaposes these individual efforts to governmental attempts to revamp the psychiatric infrastructure.

Organiser: Professor Sonu Shamdasani (UCL)

Time: 6pm to 7.30 pm.

Location:  Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London.

From the Torrington Place entrance to UCL, enter the campus on Malet Place. After fifty metres, you will find Foser court on the right hand side. Turn right under the underpass, and enter via the second door on the right. The common room is straight ahead.

UPDATE: The date of this talk has now changed to Tuesday 31st May. The time and place remain the same.

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Canadian Bulletin of the History of Medicine: Degeneration, Eugenics, Psychosis, & Shell Shock

The Spring 2016 issue of the Canadian Bulletin of the History of Medicine/Bulletin canadien d’histoire de la médecine, now under the editorship of Erika Dyck and Kenton Kroker, includes a number of articles that will be of interest to AHP readers. These articles address the concept of degeneration in Quebec, eugenics and the 1917 Ontario Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Mentally Defective and Feeble-Minded, the notion of “Early Psychosis,” and shell shock as a concern in Oxford during World War One. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Entre médecine, culture et pensée sociopolitique : le concept de dégénérescence au Québec (1860–1925),” by Johanne Collin and David Hughes. The abstract reads,

La présente étude se penche sur les rapports entre la psychiatrie, la culture et la pensée sociopolitique au Québec. Notre approche s’inspire des travaux de Mark Micale sur le concept d’hystérie en France. Dans The Mind of Modernism, Micale démontre l’omniprésence de l’hystérie dans l’imaginaire collectif français au tournant du siècle. Notre objectif est de déterminer si un concept psychiatrique a pu jouer un rôle semblable au Québec à la même période. Nous démontrons que le concept de dégénérescence a pénétré la nosographie officielle, les publications médicales, les revues, la fiction ainsi que les discours sociopolitiques québécois.

In The Mind of Modernism, Mark Micale demonstrates the ubiquity of the concept of hysteria in the French imagination at the turn of the century. Taking this approach as our starting point, our study attempts to determine if the notion of degeneration played a similar role in the interactions of psychiatry, culture and politics in Quebec. Our analysis of a variety of historical sources demonstrates that the concept of degeneration did indeed penetrate aspects of psychiatric nosology, medical literature, news media, fiction, and political discourse in Quebec.

“An Evil Hitherto Unchecked: Eugenics and the 1917 Ontario Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Mentally Defective and Feeble-Minded,” by C. Elizabeth Koester. The abstract reads, Continue reading Canadian Bulletin of the History of Medicine: Degeneration, Eugenics, Psychosis, & Shell Shock

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New History of Psychiatry: LSD, Madhouses, Psychiatric Semiology…

The June 2016 issue of History of Psychiatry is now online. Articles in this issue explore psychiatric semiology, the German Research Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, madness in novelist Muriel Spark’s work, LSD as treatment in Denmark, the DSM and learning disabilities, Joseph Mason’s madhouse, and the work of Max Scheler. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“The emergence of psychiatric semiology during the Age of Revolution: evolving concepts of ‘normal’ and ‘pathological’,” by Diego Enrique Londoño and Professor Tom Dening. The abstract reads,

This article addresses some important questions in psychiatric semiology. The concept of a sign is crucial in psychiatry. How do signs emerge, and what gives them validity and legitimacy? What are the boundaries of ‘normal’ and ‘pathological’ behaviour and mental experiences? To address these issues, we analyse the characteristics and rules that govern semiological signs and clinical elements. We examine ‘normality’ from the perspective of Georges Canguilehm and compare the differences of ‘normal’ in physiology and psychiatry. We then examine the history and the philosophical, linguistic and medical-psychiatric origins of semiology during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (the Age of Revolution). The field of rhetoric and oratory has emphasized the importance of passions, emotions and language as applied to signs of madness. Another perspective on semiology, provided by Michel Foucault, lays stress on the concept of ‘instinct’ and the axis of voluntary-involuntary behaviour. Finally, we analyse how statistics and eugenics have played an important role in our current conceptualization of the norm and therefore the scientific discourse behind the established clinical signs.

“Psychiatric governance, völkisch corporatism, and the German Research Institute of Psychiatry in Munich (1912–26). Part 2,” by Eric J Engstrom, Wolfgang Burgmair, and Matthias M Weber. The abstract reads, Continue reading New History of Psychiatry: LSD, Madhouses, Psychiatric Semiology…

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Historiographic note on errors of attribution

Bedeian_Art_250x350In the Journal of Management History, Arthur Bedeian uses the chronology of how an aphorism became, and continued to be, credited to Kurt Lewin as an historiographic illustration in order to critique how errors of attribution can be perpetuated by historians, and to model a method for correcting this tendency.

Titled “A note on the aphorism ‘there is nothing as practical as a good theory,’”  this piece traces “the history of the above-captioned aphorism back through its use by the General Electric Company in the 1920s to Friedrich W. Dörpfeld’s 1873 book Grundlinien einer Theorie des Lehrplans, zunächst der Volks- und Mittelschul.” While doing so, Bedeian provides commentary on the widespread challenge presented to historians by historical inaccuracies.

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APA Monitor Time Capsule: “Psychologist of the Nazi Mind”

Gustave Gilbert

The May 2016 issue of the American Psychological Association‘s Monitor on Psychology features a piece on Gustave Gilbert’s  role as “prison psychologist” during the Nuremberg Nazi war crimes trial. As Ian Nicholson writes,

On Oct. 20, 1945, Gustave Gilbert arrived in Nuremberg, Germany, to begin what was perhaps the most compelling assignment ever given to an American psychologist — working for the International Military Tribunal at the first Nazi war crimes trial. Fluent in German, Gilbert was given the assignment to work as a morale officer and translator. Nuremberg was a high-stakes affair, and the Allied powers wanted the trial to proceed in an orderly and dignified manner. Gilbert’s job was to keep the prisoners — Hitler’s leading henchmen — in a reasonably calm, rational state.

With the approval of his superiors, he quickly recast the position as “prison psychologist” and began studying the prisoners as well. Gilbert used all the standard psychological tools of the day — intelligence tests, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception tests. However, his preferred method was casual conversation. Gilbert befriended the prisoners, visiting them in their cells daily and chatting with them at meal times. At the end of each day, he wrote about these conversations, providing a fascinating window into the thoughts and motivations of the prisoners as they faced what they all knew was a likely death sentence.

Read the rest of the piece online here.

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New Books Network Podcast Interview: Rebecca Lemov’s Database of Dreams

Now available from the New Books Network of podcasts is an interview with Rebecca Lemov on her recent book, Database of Dreams: The Lost Quest to Catalog Humanity. As the New Books Network describes,

Rebecca Lemov‘s beautifully written Database of Dreams: The Lost Quest to Catalog Humanity (Yale University Press, 2015) is at once an exploration of mid-century social science through paths less traveled and the tale of a forgotten future. The book is anchored around the story of Harvard-trained social scientist Bert Kaplan, who embarked on, in her words, a dizzyingly ambitious 1950s-era project to capture peoples dreams in large amounts and store them in an experimental data bank. While unique in scope, Kaplan’s project can be characterized as the culmination of efforts to apply techniques of personality capture–projective testing, dream analysis, and life history–in cross-cultural research on indigenous peoples, an effort to account for the full spectrum of human life amidst the encroachment of modernity upon cultures based, for example, in oral traditions.

Richly documenting the entanglements of Kaplan and others in their attempts to render subjects as data, Lemov throws the transactional nature of anthropology into relief. A data point for an ethnographer can be many things for a research subject: cash for buying American niceties, a beer, a dream lost in the act of recounting, even a permanent mark of distrust. The book is also a history of a technology which never came to fruition: the futuristic reader for Kaplan’s Microcards was never realized, and the boxes of cards became dispersed and lost their value as a total archive of human personality. Lemov argues that we would do well to regard the fate of Kaplan’s database as a parable for our age by calling attention to the information loss upon which the technologies of documentation that saturate our present rely. What, then, will become of our compressed audio files, forgotten social media accounts, and backup hard drives stashed in the back corners of drawers?

The full interview can be heard online here.

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May 4th Talk: History of Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care

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