The July 2012 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. Included in this issue are a number of articles that may be of interest to AHP’s readers. The historical origins of the idea that the mind is an emergent property of the brain is explored in an article by Elfed Huw Price. In another piece, Sandra Schruijer describes the initial aims of the founding of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology. A series of commentaries follow the latter article. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Do brains think? Comparative anatomy and the end of the Great Chain of Being in 19th-century Britain,” by Elfed Huw Price. The abstract reads,
The nature of the relationship between mind and body is one of the greatest remaining mysteries. As such, the historical origin of the current dominant belief that mind is a function of the brain takes on especial significance. In this article I aim to explore and explain how and why this belief emerged in early 19th-century Britain. Between 1815 and 1819 two brain-based physiologies of mind were the subject of controversy and debate in Britain: the system of phrenology devised by Franz Joseph Gall, and William Lawrence’s lectures at the Royal College of Surgeons. Both owed a profound intellectual debt to continental comparative anatomy. In the final quarter of the 18th-century, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, Petrus Camper and Johann Gottfried von Herder had broken away from the traditional doctrine of the Great Chain of Being by allowing for a clear anatomical distinction between ‘man’ and beast based on the morphology of the skull. This reconceptualization of man as an anatomically distinct being gave Gall and Lawrence grounds to propose that the peculiarities of the human mind were dependent on mankind’s unique cerebral size and structure.
“Whatever happened to the ‘European’ in European social psychology? A study of the ambitions in founding the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology,” by Sandra G. L. Schruijer. The abstract reads,
This article studies the ambitions involved in founding the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology (EAESP) in the context of a differentiation between social psychology practised in Europe on the one hand and the United States on the other. To this end 8 key actors have been interviewed: 4 members of the very first Executive Committee (or Planning Committee as it was called then) as well as 4 key players of a second generation. Also the EAESP’s archives have been consulted. Moreover, data regarding the developments of EAESP’s membership and EAESP’s house journal, the European Journal of Social Psychology (EJSP), were used to assess to what extent the ambitions in developing a European social psychology have been realized. The conclusion is that, despite various successes, it remains questionable whether the founders’ aims have been fulfilled.
“‘Americanization’ of European Social Psychology,” by Ivana Marková. No abstract provided.
“An evaluation of the impact of the European Association of Social Psychology: A response to Schruijer (2012),” by Miles Hewstone, Karmela Liebkind, Maria Lewicka, János László, Alberto Voci, Alberta Contarello, Ángel Gómez, Alexandra Hantzi, Michal Bilewicz, Ana Guinote, Sylvie Graf, and Kristina Petkova. No abstract provided.