Workshop: Folk Psychology and Descriptive Psychology – in the Contexts of Historicism, Relativism and Naturalism

A workshop on “Folk Psychology and Descriptive Psychology – in the Contexts of Historicism, Relativism and Naturalism” will take place at the University of Vienna April 26th through 28th. Full details below.

Folk Psychology and Descriptive Psychology – in the Contexts of Historicism, Relativism and Naturalism /Völkerpsychologie und beschreibende Psychologie – im Kontext von Historismus, Relativismus und Naturalismus.

Workshop / Tagung
Wednesday April 26 – Friday April 28, 2017

Vienna, University Campus, Alte Kapelle.

Christian Damböck, Uljana Feest, Martin Kusch, Hartwig Wiedebach

Institute Vienna Circle,
ERC project 339382 “The Emergence of Relativism”,
FWF project P27733 “Early Carnap in Context”
Faculty for Philosophy and Education, University of Vienna

Conference languages are English and German

Late 19th-century German language philosophy and humanities saw the emergence of two important (related) approaches: Folk Psychology (Völkerpsychologie) and Descriptive Psychology (beschreibende Psychologie). The main representatives of these currents were Chaim H. Steinthal and Wilhelm Dilthey, as well as many of their pupils and followers. One could mention here Hermann Cohen, Moritz Lazarus, Gustav Glogau, Georg Simmel, Wilhelm Wundt, Karl Mannheim, Paul Natorp, Rudolf Carnap, and Georg Spranger. Although Folk and Descriptive Psychology were highly influential for some time, they were quickly forgotten in the 20th century. Until recently, histories of psychology, sociology and philosophy have paid little attention to these developments. Indeed, even in key figures such as Steinthal, Dilthey, or Cohen, their involvement with Folk and Descriptive Psychology is often ignored. The aim of this workshop is to invite scholars working on the history of psychology, of sociology, of the humanities, and of philosophy to reconsider historiographical and philosophical aspects of this important current. Topics of the conference will be: (1) an exegesis of the key contributions of Steinthal and Dilthey; (2) historical analyses of positive receptions of Folk Psychology and Descriptive Psychology; (3) historical analyses of negative responses to Folk Psychology and Descriptive Psychology, e.g. in phenomenology, experimental psychology, and various currents of (Neo )Kantianism; (4) philosophical investigations of the current relevance of Folk and Descriptive Psychologies.


Wednesday, April 26

09:00-10:00 Katherina Kinzel (Universität Wien): “Descriptive psychology and historical values. Revisiting the charges of ‘psychologism’ and ‘historicism’”
10:30-11:30 Hans-Ulrich Lessing (Ruhr Universität Bochum): Die Genese von Diltheys deskriptiver Psychologie
12:00-13:00 Christian Damböck (Universität Wien): „What is descriptive psychology? Ebbinghaus’s 1896 criticism of Dilthey revisited”

15:00-16:00 Johannes Steizinger (Universität Wien): “Continuity, Connection and Nexus. A Sociological Reading of Dilthey’s Philosophy”
16:30-17:30 Uljana Feest (Leibniz Universität Hannover): “The status of introspection in Dilthey’s descriptive psychology”

Thursday, April 27

09:00-10:00 Michael Heidelberger (Universität Tübingen): “1879: ein Wendepunkt auch für die Völkerpsychologie”
10:30-11:30 Scott Edgar (Saint Mary’s University, Halifax): “Folk Psychology and Hermann Cohen’s Anti-Psychologism”
12:00-13:00 Martin Kusch (Universität Wien): “Völkerpsychologie and Sociology of Knowledge”

17:00-18:00 Gary Hatfield (University of Pennsylvania): “Wundt and Higher Cognition”

Friday, April 28

09:00-10:00 Gerald Hartung (Bergische Universität Wuppertal): „Die Sprachtheorie in Wundts Völkerpsychologie“
10:30-11:30 Alexander Klein (California State University, Long Beach): On James’s Criticism of “The Herbartian School”
12:00-13:00 Guillaume Frechette (Universität Salzburg): “Descriptive Psychology: Dilthey and the School of Brentano”

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.