CFP: “Crisis in Psychology” Conference in Berlin

Brandenburg Gate, BerlinSince Franz Brentano complained in 1874 that psychology had split into many divergent approaches, the state of psychology has often been characterized as a “crisis.” These concerns were particularly strongly expressed around 1910-1930 by psychologists who were building new research paradigms that have determined the course of psychology ever since.

Many researches and thinkers—such as Karl Bühler, Hans Driesch, Kurt Koffka, William Stern, Lev Vygotsky, Nikolai Kostyleff, Mary Whiton Calkins, N.N. Lange, S.L. Frank, Edmund Husserl, and a group of Marxist psychologists in Berlin—directly wrote on the crisis in psychology and in related disciplines. This debate involved a reaction against the high expectations connected to the new, experimental research practices established since the 1870s, and it centrally concerned the disciplinary constitution of psychology in relation to the humanities and the natural sciences.


Conference on “The Early Twentieth- Century Crisis in Psychology: Causes, Contexts, and Consequences”

To be hosted by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (Germany) October 10-12, 2008

Organized by Ludmila Hyman & Thomas Sturm

The goal of this conference is to reconstruct the debate between competing schools and paradigms in psychology (and neighboring disciplines) from the late nineteenth century to the 1930s, to analyze historical contexts in which particular positions evolved, and to explore the current relevance of the debate. Submissions are invited on these and related topics. Preference will be given to papers that address the connection between methodological issues in the history of psychology and social context. Contributions that relate to William James, Karl Bühler, Kurt Koffka, Rudolf Willy, Hans Driesch, and Otto Rühle are particularly welcome.

The conference will be held in English.

Please send papers or abstracts (800–1,000 words) by 1 July 2008 to the following address:

For further information, please contact:
Ludmila Hyman
Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Boltzmannstraße 22
14195 Berlin
Telefon (+4930) 22667-138
Telefax (+4930) 22667-248

Thomas Sturm
Research Fellow
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Boltzmannstr. 22
D-14195 Berlin, Germany
Fon: 030/22667-144
Fax: 030/22667-293

This announcement is based on an e-mail to the Cheiron list sent by Thomas Sturm.

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.