Place, U. T. (1993h). Psychologism and anti-psychologism: An historical overview [Conference presentation]. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society 1993, 37.
[Abstract]Psychologism is the (mistaken) belief that logic is a descriptive science, that the laws of logic describe how people think in the way that the laws of motion describe how things move. Anti-psychologism repudiates psychologism, holding that logic is a normative or prescriptive science like ethics. Its laws tell us how people ought to think, not how they actually think in practice. Psychologism has always had a strong following within psychology, even though the difficulty most human subjects encounter in making correct logical inferences is not easily reconciled with it. But in philosophy the influence of Frege (1894) on Russell and Wittgenstein on the one hand and Husserl on the other has ensured that anti-psychologism has been the dominant orthodoxy both in Austro-Anglo-Saxon Analytic Philosophy and in Continental (German-French) Phenomenology. More recently, Fodor (1975) has pointed out that the causal role played by formally stated logical rules in the basic software of the serial-digital computer shows (a) that psychologism cannot be dismissed, as it has been in the past, on the grounds that logical principles are not the kind of thing that can enter into a causal relation, and (b) that if, as Fodor himself thinks, the serial-digital computer is the right model for the functioning of the brain, psychologism must actually be true. With the replacement of the serial-digital computer by the connectionist network as the preferred model for the way the brain functions, anti-psychologism looks set to become the dominant orthodoxy once again. But this time the case will be argued, not on a priori grounds, but on the the empirical evidence which renders psychologism a massively implausible account of how thought is actually generated.
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