Psychologism and Psychoaesthetics

A historical and critical view of their relations

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Unlike studies which confine psychologism to the second half of the nineteenth century, and to an explicit claim of psychology as a ‘Grundwissenschaft’ during that period, this work attempts to trace psychologism's emergence in Greek antiquity, in hedonistic tendencies of the Renaissance, and in British Empiricism. Thus, psychologism figures as a generic concept, embracing a variety of both positivistic and idealistic arguments concerning the localization of normative sciences, particularly aesthetics and literary theory, in psychological space. This study also considers the implicit psychologism of even those psychoaesthetic theories which claimed to be against the exclusive status of psychology. In their actual treatment of aesthetic and literary facts, such theories inadvertently did indeed resort to psychologistic arguments. The position from which I have chosen to look at psychologistically committed aesthetics and literary theory is essentially phenomenological. The author seeks to present psychologism as a central tendency of psychoaesthetics as well as to assert critically psychologism's basic assumptions.

Subjects: Philosophy

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