Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint
Brentano (Franz)
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Amazon Product Description
  1. This edition of Brentano's most famous work contains the text corresponding to his original 1874 manuscript. Franz Brentano's classic study Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint was the most important of Brentano's works to be published in his lifetime.
  2. A new introduction by Peter Simons places Brentano's work in the context of current philosophical thought. He is able to show how Brentano has emerged since the 1970s as a key figure in both contemporary European and Anglo-American traditions and crucial to any understanding the recent history of philosophy and psychology.

Cover Blurb
  1. 'Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint forged Franz Brentano's reputation, and it remains his most important and influential single work … Through Brentano's illustrious circle of students it exerted a wide influence on philosophy and psychology, especially in Austria, Germany, Poland and Italy. Knowledge of Brentano's views helps us to understand such varied developments as Husserl's phenomenology, Meinong's theory of objects, Gestalt psychology, and early analytic philosophy in Poland and England.'
    … From Peter Simons' new introduction
  2. A new introduction by Peter Simons places Brentano's classic work in the context of current philosophical thought. Simons shows how Brentano has emerged, since the 1970s, to occupy a key position in both European and Anglo-American philosophical traditions. His Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint is crucial to any understanding of the history of philosophy and psychology.
  3. Franz Brentano (1838-1917) is one of the great figures of modern philosophy. His contributions to ethics, metaphysics, to the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind are crucial to Anglo-American philosophy. Descriptive Psychology, a collection of his lectures, is also published by Routledge.
  4. Peter Simons, who has written the new introduction to this edition, is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Leeds.

    Introduction to the Second Edition (Peter Simons) – xiii
    Preface to the 1973 English Edition
    Forward to the 1911 Edition: The Classification of Mental Phenomena – xxv
    Forward to the 1874 Edition – xxvii

  • I. The Concept and purpose of Psychology – 3
    1. Psychology defined as the science of the soul – 3
    2. Psychology defined as the science of mental phenomena – 8
    3. The particular value of psychology – 19
  • II. Psychological Method with Special Reference to its Experiential Basis – 28
    1. The particular interest which the consideration of psychological method holds – 28
    2. Inner perception as the source of psychological experience. It is not to be confused with inner observation, ie. introspection – 29
    3. Consideration of earlier mental phenomena through memory – 34
    4. Indirect knowledge of other people's mental phenomena from their outward expressions – 36
    5. Study of conscious lives simpler than our own – 40
    6. Observation of diseased mental states – 41
    7. Study of prominent features in both the lives of individuals and of peoples – 42
  • III. Further Investigations Concerning Psychological Method. Induction of the Fundamental Laws of Psychology – 44
    1. The determination of the most universal characteristics of mental phenomena by means of induction does not presuppose knowledge of intermediate laws – 44
    2. The indispensability of a determination of the basic classes of mental phenomena. Conditions which make possible and facilitate such a determination – 44
    3. The investigation of the elements of mental life is of primary and universal importance – 45
    4. The highest laws governing the succession of mental phenomena, which we arrive at through inner experience, are, strictly speaking, empirical laws – 47
    5. Horwicz's attempt to base psychology on physiology – 48
    6. The reasons why Maudsley believes that mental phenomena can be investigated only by physiological means – 54
    7. Whether it is advisable, given the present state of physiology, to try to reduce the succession of mental phenomena to true fundamental laws on the basis of physiological data – 63
  • IV. Further Investigations Concerning Psychological Method. The Inexact Character of its Highest Laws. Deduction and Verification – 65
    1. Exact laws governing the succession of mental phenomena cannot be discovered in the absence of a way of measuring their intensity – 65
    2. The attempts of Herbart and Fechner to find such a quantitative determination of mental phenomena – 66
    3. The derivation of special laws governing the succession of mental phenomena by means of deductive and the so-called inverse deductive methods – 70
    4. The procedure to be followed in investigating the question of immortality – 72

  • I. The Distinction between Mental and Physical Phenomena – 77
    1. The necessity of investigating this question thoroughly – 77
    2. Explication of the distinction by means of examples – 78
    3. Mental phenomena are presentations or are based on presentations – 80
    4. The definition of mental phenomena in terms of their lack of extension, and the objection raised against this definition – 85
    5. What is characteristic of mental phenomena is their reference to an object – 88
    6. Mental phenomena can only be perceived through inner consciousness, it is only possible to perceive physical phenomena through outer perception – 91
    7. Physical phenomena can exist only phenomenally; mental phenomena exist in reality as well – 92
    8. Whether and in what sense it is correct to say that mental phenomena only exist one after the other, while numerous physical phenomena can exist at the same time – 94
    9. Survey of the definition of the concepts of physical and mental science – 97
  • II. Inner Consciousness – 101
    1. The sense in which we use the word "consciousness" – 101
    2. Is there such a thing as unconscious consciousness? The lack of agreement among philosophers. The apparent impossibility of deciding the question – 102
    3. Four ways in which one can attempt to prove that there is unconscious consciousness – 105
    4. The attempt to prove the existence of unconscious consciousness by inferring the existence of a cause from the existence of an effect and its failure – 105
    5. The attempt to prove it by means of an inference from cause to effect. It, too, proves unsatisfactory – 116
    6. The attempt based upon a functional relationship between conscious mental phenomena and the consciousness related to them. Insofar as such consciousness can be known, it is evidence against rather than for the assumption – 119
    7. The attempt based upon the argument that the assumption that every mental phenomenon is the object of a mental phenomenon leads to an infinite regress – 121
    8. A presentation and the presentation of that presentation are given in one and the same act – 126
    9. Why no introspection is possible and why the assumption that every mental phenomenon is conscious does not lead to an infinite regress – 128
    10. Confirmation of what was said in Section 9 in the testimony of various psychologists who are in agreement – 130
    11. Why people commonly believe that both a presentation and the presentation which accompanies it are of the same intensity – 133
    12. An objection based upon the fact that we perceive not-hearing and the reply to this question – 134
    13. There is no unconscious mental activity – 136
  • III. Further Considerations Regarding Inner Consciousness – 138
    1. A mental act is often accompanied by a judgement about it – 138
    2. The accompanying inner cognition is included in the very act it accompanies – 138
    3. The accompanying inner judgement does not exhibit a combination of subject and predicate – 141
    4. Every mental act is perceived inwardly – 142
    5. Often there is within us a third kind of consciousness of the mental act in addition to presentation and knowledge, namely, a feeling directed toward it and likewise included in it – 143
    6. This kind of inner consciousness, too, accompanies all mental activity without exception – 147
    7. Survey of the results of the last two chapters – 153
  • IV. On the Unity of Consciousness1 – 155
    1. The status of the question – 155
    2. Our simultaneous mental activities all belong to one real unity – 157
    3. What does the unity of consciousness2 mean and what doesn't it mean? – 163
    4. The objections of C. Ludwig and A. Lange against the unity of consciousness3 and against the proof by which we establish this fact – 169
  • V. A Survey of the Principal Attempts to Classify Mental Phenomena – 177
    1. Plato's distinction between the appetitive, spirited, and rational parts of the soul – 177
    2. The basic classifications of mental phenomena in Aristotle – 179
    3. The consequences of the Aristotelian classification. Wolff, Hume, Reid, Brown – 181
    4. The threefold classification into Idea, Feeling and Desire. Tetens, Mendelssohn, Kant, Hamilton, Lotze. What actually was the guiding principle of classification? – 182
    5. The assumption of the threefold classification by the Herbartian School – 190
    6. Bain's classification – 190
    7. Review of the principles employed for the purpose of making a basic classification – 192
  • VI. Classification of Mental Activities into Presentations, Judgements, and Phenomena of Love and Hate – 194
    1. Rejection of classifications not derived from a study of mental phenomena – 194
    2. A basic classification which takes as its principle the various kinds of reference to an immanent object is, at the present time, preferable to any other – 195
    3. The three natural basic classes are: Presentation, Judgement, and Phenomena of love and hate – 197
    4. The procedures which should be followed in order to justify and establish this classification – 206
  • VII. Presentation and Judgement: Two Different Fundamental Classes – 201
    1. Testimony of inner experience – 201
    2. The difference between presentation and judgement is a difference in the activities themselves – 201
    3. It is not a difference in intensity – 204
    4. It is not a difference in content – 205
    5. It is not correct to say that the combination of subject and predicate nor any other such combination is what is essential to a judgement. This is shown, firstly, by consideration of affirmative and negative existential propositions – 208
    6. Secondly, it is confirmed with reference to perceptions, especially with reference to the conditions of one's first perceptions – 209
    7. Thirdly, it is confirmed by the fact that all propositions can be reduced to existential propositions – 210
    8. There is nothing left but to recognize that what is characteristic of judgement is the particular way judgements refer to their content – 221
    9. All of the peculiar characteristics which elsewhere designate the fundamental difference in the ways of relating to objects, are present in this case, too – 222
    10. Review of the threefold method of establishing the thesis – 225
    11. The erroneous view of the relation between presentation and judgement arises from the fact that a cognition is included in every act of consciousness – 225
    12. In addition there are linguistic bases for the confusion. Firstly, the way both are referred to as thinking – 227
    13. Secondly, the way they are expressed in propositions – 228
    14. The consequences which a misunderstanding of the nature of judgement has for metaphysics – 229
    15. The consequences for logic – 230
    16. The consequences for psychology – 233
  • VIII. Feeling and Will United into a Single Fundamental Class – 235
    1. Inner experience teaches us that feeling and will are united in a single class. Firstly, it shows us there are intermediary states which form a gradual continuum between feeling and will – 235
    2. It also shows us that they correspond to one another in the manner in which they refer to their content – 239
    3. The proof that every act of will or desire is directed toward something as good or bad Philosophers of all periods agree on this – 241
    4. Proof that the same thing is true of feelings – 242
    5. The character of the class distinctions within the area of feeling and will. They are definable with the help of the basic phenomena – 247
    6. Subordinate differences in the way of referring to an object – 249
    7. None of the peculiar characteristics which designate differences in the mode of reference to an object in other cases are characteristics of the difference between feeling and will – 251
    8. Review of the foregoing three-part discussion – 255
    9. The most prominent causes of error concerning the relation between feeling and will are the following: Firstly, the special unity of inner consciousness with its objects is easily confused with a special mode of consciousness – 256
    10. Secondly, the will assumes an ability to cause things which is not derivable from the ability to love – 257
    11. In addition, there is a linguistic reason: Improperly designating the common class as desire – 259
    12. The misunderstanding of the relationship between presentation and judgement contributes to that of the relationship between feeling and will. The relation of the three Ideas of The Beautiful, The True and The Good to the three basic classes – 260
  • IX. Comparison of the Three Basic Classes with the Threefold Phenomena of Inner Consciousness. Determination of their Natural Order – 265
    1. Each of the three elements of inner consciousness corresponds to one of the three classes of mental phenomena – 265
    2. The natural order of the three basic classes is: first, presentation; second, judgement; third, love – 266

    Supplementary Remarks Intended to Explain and Defend, as well as to Correct and Expand upon the Theory – 271
  • I. Mental Reference as Distinguished from Relation in the Strict Sense – 271
  • II. On Mental Reference to Something as a Secondary Object – 275
  • III. On the Modes of Presentation – 278
  • IV. On Attributive Combination of Presentations in recto and in obliquo – 281
  • V. On the Modifications in Judgement and Attitude Brought about by the Modes of Presentation – 283
  • VI. On the Impossibility of Ascribing Intensity to Every Mental Reference and in Particular the Impossibility of Understanding Degrees of Conviction and Preference as Differences of Intensity – 286
  • VII. On the Impossibility of Combining Judgement and Emotion in a Single Basic Class – 287
  • VIII. On the Impossibility of Assuming that Feeling and Will have Different Basic Classes on an Analogy with Presentation and Judgement – 289
  • IX. On Genuine and Fictitious Objects – 291
  • X. On Attempts at the Mathematicization of Logic – 301
  • XI. On Psychologism – 306

  • XII. Thinking is Universal, Entities are Individual – 311
  • XIII. Intuition and Abstract Presentation – 315
  • XIV. On Objects of Thought – 321
  • XV. On the Term "Being" in its Loose Sense, Abstract Terms, and Entia Rationis – 330
  • XVI. On Ens Rationis – 339
  • Introduction to the 1924 Edition by Oskar Kraus – 409


For the Full Text on-line, see Brentano - Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint.

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