Seeking Spinoza: The Spinozistic Origins of Early Psychological Theory in Wundt, James and Freud
Citation:KENNEDY, LAURA, Seeking Spinoza: The Spinozistic Origins of Early Psychological Theory in Wundt, James and Freud, Trinity College Dublin.School of Social Sciences & Philosophy, 2019
LK FINAL FINAL MASTER DOCUMENT.pdf (PhD Thesis, examined and approved) 1.905Mb
This thesis investigates the previously unexamined convergence between Spinoza's monistic philosophy of psychology and early psychological theory. It argues that the three 'founding fathers' of the field of psychology, credited within that discipline for its foundational concepts and principles, exhibit distinct overlap with Spinoza's psychology as presented in the Ethics, and that consequently represents a new way to consider the historical trajectory and epistemology of modern psychology. Furthermore, it argues that the total separation of psychology from its philosophical roots has resulted in a loss of awareness within the field of psychology of the origin and nature of that discipline's founding principles. To prove this claim, this thesis will track three important elements of Spinozistic psychology through the works of Wilhelm Wundt, William James and Sigmund Freud respectively, taking a comparative approach. The three elements of Spinoza's theory which overlap with the works of Wundt, James and Freud are Spinoza's parallel theory of mind-body, particularly in relation to emotions, his emotional theory itself, and his account of causality and determinism. This research highlights the relevance of Spinoza to the literature within both philosophy of psychology and the field the field of psychology itself, and examines the implications of this omission, arguing that a lack of awareness of the philosophical roots of fundamental concepts in psychology has serious pragmatic consequences. The impact upon scholarship and understanding of Spinoza's lasting relevance and influence are examined in light of this omission, as is the potentiality for errors in the formation of therapeutic methodologies and approaches from nebulous or decontextualised first principles within the field of psychology. This research also identifies areas for potential further scholarship in relation to Spinoza specifically, and the potential influence of Early Modern philosophy more generally, upon the philosophy of psychology and psychological theory.
Author: KENNEDY, LAURA
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of Social Sciences & Philosophy. Discipline of Philosophy
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available