Place, U. T. (1989g). Some thought on the work of the Würzburg School and the controversy it provoked, prompted by a visit to Würzburg 10-16 October 1989 [Unpublished presentation at the Departmental Seminar, Departement of Psychology, University College of North Wales, Bangor, 2nd November 1989].
[Abstract]The debate between the Würzburg School and E. B. Titchener which took place during the first decade of this century was not, as it is often portrayed, a debate about the existence or non-existence of imageless thought. It is better described as a conceptual and terminological issue about the nature of consciousness, the place of meaning in consciousness and the role of introspection (Selbstbeobachtung) in its empirical investigation. Titchener's contention that in introspection the trained psychologist strips away meaning in order to provide a description of raw uninterpreted experience is shown to be the absurdity that it is by Wittgenstein's (1953) 'private language argument'. There is, nevertheless, a useful distinction to be drawn between two ways of acquiring mental self-knowledge: (a) introspection (Selbstbeobachtung) which yields observational knowledge of the qualia of ongoing experience, and (b) inner perception (innere Wahrnehmung) which yields intuitive knowledge of the onset and content of dispositional mental states. In terms of this distinction, the Würzburg protocols are based on an inner perception of the content of the reported thoughts rather than on introspective observation of the qualia of experience. The paper concludes with an assessment of the significance of the Würzburg-Titchener controversy for the subsequent history of psychology and for contemporary issues in psychology and the philosophy of mind.
Note:
Poshumously published as Place (2002/3)
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