Noah Porter's problem and the origins of American psychology.

Journal of the history of the behavioral sciences

PubMedID: 15378563

Richards G. Noah Porter's problem and the origins of American psychology. J Hist Behav Sci. 2005;.
The twin problems facing nineteenth-century American "mental and moral philosophy" of the nature of psychological language and the constraints that religious beliefs placed on possibilities of innovation in a "scientific Psychology" are both highly visible in the work of Noah Porter, who was unable to resolve them. They are also more covertly identifiable in the works of James McCosh and others in this school. It is suggested that the transition to the "New Psychology" of the 1880s and 1890s needs to be rethought in light of this in three respects: (a) ironically, it entailed repressing insights into the psychological language problem, (b) the legacy of the religious factor profoundly affected U.S. Psychology and played a less unambiguously negative role in its fortunes than customarily portrayed, and (c) the transition was itself a more complex and protracted process than is portrayed in traditional "revolutionary" accounts.Copyright 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.