Calkins Self Psychology

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At the turn of the 20th century, psychology was a new and emerging discipline. Many of its proponents were publishing papers that were more conceptual in nature, taking on a predominantly philosophical perspective. There was a large amount of questioning and contextualising conducted in an attempt to get a clear understanding of the aims of psychology and its appropriate methodologies. There were many important contributors to this discussion. Mary Whiton Calkins, for example, was greatly influenced by the work of William James and Josiah Royce, who many believe sparked the development of a number of Calkins’ own theories surrounding self-psychology (McDonald, 2007). The current paper, titled “Psychology as science of self: Is
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The first form regards the self as a psychophysical organism and psychology as the science of processes or functions of the conscious body, making up the mind-and-body complex. For Calkins, this is more practical for functional psychologists. Angell (1907) prohibits this use of the term “self”, stating that the idea of a mind-and-body-complex compounds two distinct phenomena and ignores their functions. This view would then mean that an organism’s functions could not be defined as “physiological” or “psychical” as they would be combined into the category of “psychophysical functions”. It is pointed out that functional psychologists still need to distinguish psychical from physiological functions, leading Calkins to the reasonable conclusion that treating the self as “psychophysical” is…show more content…
It is interesting to note, however, that Calkins previously implied that the nature of the relationship between the mind and body should be left for philosophy to examine, stating that psychology should not be concerned “with the philosophical problem of the relation of mind and body”. Overlooking this, Calkins continues to outline the two key aims of science. The first is to describe or portray using observation, analysis, and classification. For psychologists attempting to describe consciousness, this would involve observing a psychic fact, analysing it into its basic factors, and classifying it according to its similarities to other phenomena. The second aim is to explain by discovering other phenomena (psychic or physical) that may be related to the psychic fact of interest. For Calkins, these roles do not contradict the view that science is always descriptive and never explanatory, as they still focus on the “how?” rather than the “why?” (Pearson, 1892). Ideally, science should seek to classify explained phenomena, grouping them by internal similarities and by similarities of the phenomena which explain them. The author’s description here provides a very practical representation of a scientific approach to
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