Metaphysics Vs. Psychology Metaphysics And Dissertation

Length: 40 pages Sources: 30 Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy Type: Dissertation Paper: #95803195 Related Topics: Weight Watchers, Net Neutrality, Phenomenology, Thermodynamics
Excerpt from Dissertation :

" (Ibid) the term cosmology is derived from the Greek word 'kosmos' meaning order and refers to the world and the universe. (Ibid, paraphrased) the cosmologic philosopher is stated to be on who "contemplates the nature of this order and is concerned with the relationships between the plants, the stars and the earth. The laws of the universe are important topics to cosmologic philosophers. They consider the laws of thermodynamics, the laws of gravity, etc. They are also concerned with time and space, with power and motion, disintegration, and preservation." (Ibid)

The third component of metaphysics or that of psychology is a word derived from the Greek language which is stated to refer to "the nature of the psyche or soul." (Ibid) There is a great debate among philosophers about how to define the word soul as some believe that soul and spirit can be used interchangeably and others believe the soul is part of the mind or nervous system or even part of the body's physical chemistry. (Ibid, paraphrased)

It is stated that the contrast of metaphysics vs. psychology lies between the first and third stated above or between the phenomena of mind and scientific psychology and ontology or the philosophy of mind. According to this work in the Methodist Review (1895) the two "are really inseparable. As there can be no physics without metaphysics, nor metaphysics without physics preceding so there can be no physics without metaphysics, not yet any metaphysics without psychics or soul-facts." (p.224) it is reported that just as in physics "…facts precede their philosophy, as in psychology, or should science, fact go before their explanation and arrangement." (p. 224)

However, it is stated that in turn "the facts of physics are largely discovered by the aid of the theories of metaphysics." (p.224) Philosophies are that which serve to organize the expectations of man and direct them "not the realm where the facts are to be found." (p.224) the same is true in psychology in that "no new fact is seized upon in the laboratory but by the foresight and for coordination of the philosophy of psychology already in the field." (p.224)

The article goes on to relate that the three departments of psychology -- phenomenal, logical and ontological -- form one endless fugue, each in turn pursuing the other. It is an eternal round of search after new or old facts to furnish logic, to fill up metaphysics, then of search after more facts, to furnish more logic to fill metaphysics, and so ad infinitum." (Methodist Review, 1895, p.224) it is stated in the Methodist Review Article that in psychology whether one is a materialist, spiritualist, idealist, or realist" the conclusion that one reaches and that which those conclusions are defended with are metaphysical measures, "as such originate in the ontological and inferential department, which is metaphysics par excellence." (Methodist Review, 1895, p.224)

According to the Methodist Review article "metaphysics dominates logic and logic dominates psychology, and psychology dominates metaphysics." (Methodist Review, 1895, p.225) This interdependence results in confusion arising very easily and according to the Methodist Review article "A phenomenon is brought to light." (1895, p.225) Since metaphysics has had charge of psychology for quite some while it is stated to have become somewhat of what is generally conceived as a "traditional stepmother" and due to this psychology "has suffered many things." (p.225)

The article in the Methodist Review (1895) states that Professor James produced treatises on scientific psychology that were both "brilliant and interesting" and that James ended his two volumes with a confession of failure and states "We have no sense of psychology -- only a mass of facts, which await, as did astronomy, some Galileo to come and reduce them to a science." (Methodist Review, 1895, p. 225) in the attempt of James to avoid metaphysics what has occurred is that James has in actuality "indulged in some sorry specimens of the same and has broken down according to his own confession. Like all the wicked he passed on and was punished."...


1) Kant's perception of what he viewed as an "inherent lack of power" possessed by psychology to combat the historical lack of certainty of metaphysics and to adorn the mantle of mathematics. According to Ladd (2007) the philosophers who most loudly speak out against a combination of integration of metaphysics and psychology are those the most guilty of them all in doing just that or combining metaphysics with scientific psychology and stated is that the practice of such philosophers "suggests not unkindly sarcasm that the metaphysics hypotheses and tenets which they think it indispensable to exclude from the science of mental phenomena are solely those of their opponents." (p.2)

Ladd speaks of the practice of 'pure science' and comparing science and metaphysics to the offerings of a garden state that the seed of "the purity of the empirical science is diligently sown before out delighted eyes, as its comes fresh from numerous physiological and psycho-physical laboratories, or from the brains, fertile in conjecture, of the author himself. Yet somehow, when the total crop is ready for the harvest, not a few sprouts of metaphysics are still found to have crept into it." (Ladd, 2007, p.2) Ladd states that the psychologists who are the most adamant of the potential for ridding scientific psychology from all influences of metaphysics are those who have provided the "least intelligent and calm discussion of the real and permanent relations between the two. Their practice, therefore, too often seems dependent on a lack of consistent theory." (Ladd, 2007, p. 8)

According to Ladd there are various forms of these type inconsistencies which are linked with various forms of "concealed or repressed philosophical opinion." (p. 9) Ladd states that some writers posit the superiority of "empirical psychology without metaphysics or psychology without a soul." (p.9) However required for the "effective working of their psychological theories at least so much metaphysics as it consists in the assumption of an entity called the brain, on whose activity or influence they can lay the responsibility for mental phenomena." (Ladd, 2007, p.9)

The view of these psychologists concerning causation is one that is of a serious nature ontologically 'so long as they are dealing with states of consciousness in systematic dependent upon predefined states of physical or chemical sort." (Ladd, 2007, p.9) However, Ladd states that when these individuals are "faced about by the acknowledged sequences of other phenomena, and are compelled to consider whether states of consciousness can, as is ordinarily supposed, be real causes of subsequent physical and chemical changes, then their entire theory of causation is deftly adapted to the claims of the shallowest phenomenalism." (Ladd, 2007, p.9)

Psychology is stated by Ladd to "assume that things are and minds are and that within certain limits determined by the so-called nature of both, they act causally upon each other. Those happenings which are ascribed to things, and those which are ascribed to minds, are never regarded by science without metaphysics as mere phenomena; or rather the very word phenomena necessarily suggests and implies beings of which and to which the phenomena are." (p.6) the study of psychology, according to Ladd (2007) as a natural science "is not really…the pursuit of a knowledge of correlations between the phenomena wholly 'within any metaphysics whatever' it is rather the pursuit of this science with only such metaphysics as is naively assumed in all scientific inquiry." (Ladd, 2007, p.6)

Newton warned against all metaphysics and this has resulted in those in the present day during physical investigation to carefully regard the warning of Newton considered to be a "great master." (Ladd, 2007, p. 7) Metaphysics is referred to as the "old psychology." (Ladd, 2007, p.7) the 'new' psychology is held to be that which demonstrates scientific methods without the use of metaphysics. In truth however, Ladd states that modern science has filed to demonstrate itself independent from of "systematically stripped of metaphysics." (Ladd, 2007, p. 8)

Ladd states that rather than being "mere formulas for stating uniform sequences among phenomena, they are descriptions and explanations of experiences which appeal at every step to the invisible and mysterious entities, to hidden and abstruse forces, to transactions that are assumed to take place among beings whose existence and modes of behavior can never become, in any sense of the words, immediate data of sensuous knowledge." (Ladd, 2007, p.8)

It is interesting to note the statement of Ladd (2007) that there is a place of high honor that will be realized following unknown suffering and affliction due to being castigated to the "…philosophical biologist, or that philosopher…

Sources Used in Documents:


Brentano, Franz (1874) Psychology From an Empirical Standpoint: The Concept and Purpose of Psychology. International Library of Philosophy. Online available at:

DeRobertis, Eugene (1958) Metaphysics and Psychology: A Problem of the Personal. Online available at: physics_and_Psychology.pdf

Health, Ian (2003) Philosophy and Psychology: The Pursuit of Truth. A Modern Thinker, Online available at:

James, William (1890) the Principles of Psychology, Volume I, American Science Series. H. Holt and Company 1890. Online available at:

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