Skip to main content

Remembering Wilhelm Wundt and the Second Leipzig School of Psychology

Abstract

It has been 100 years since Wilhelm Wundt, our founding father of modern psychology, has passed away. In this present contribution to the journal Human Arenas special topic section marking this centennial milestone, I will be re-visiting some of the theoretical highlights coming out of the first and second Leipzig School of Psychology. Particular focus is given to Wundt’s examination of human consciousness, his emotional-will theory, creative synthesis, and especially the new direction implemented by his successors after his retirement in 1917. That is, the shift from a focus on elementary processes resulting in a creative synthesis to the developmental holistic outlook of Genetic Ganzheitspsychologie that takes holistic complexes and their transformations as the starting point for psychological examinations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    For such an account, see Araujo (2016).

  2. 2.

    For a comprehensive discussion on Gemüt, see Rehmke 1911.

  3. 3.

    Although it does need to be noted that Wundt’s tridimensional theory of feelings remains far superior to the one-dimensional theories that treat feelings only in terms of the qualitative dichotomy, pleasant-unpleasantness (Diriwächter 2003)

  4. 4.

    The interested reader may refer to Diriwächter and Valsiner (2008) or Volkelt (1962b) for some accounts.

References

  1. Araujo, S. F. (2016). Wundt and the philosophical foundations of psychology: A reappraisal. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  2. Blumenthal, A. L. (1975). A reappraisal of Wilhelm Wundt. American Psychologist, 30(11), 1081–1088.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Blumenthal, A. L. (1979). The founding father we never knew. Contemporary Psychology, 24(7), 547–550.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Danziger, K. (1980). The history of introspection reconsidered. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 16, 241–262.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Danziger, K. (1983). Origins and basic principles of Wundt’s Völkerpsychologie. British Journal of Social Psychology, 22(4), 303–313.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Diriwächter, R. (2003). What really matters: Keeping the whole. Paper presented at the 10th biennial conference of International Society for Theoretical Psychology, Istanbul, Turkey.

  7. Diriwächter, R. (2004). Völkerpsychologie: The synthesis that never was. Culture & Psychology, 10(1), 85–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Diriwächter, R. (2008). Genetic Ganzheitspsychologie. In R. Diriwächter & J. Valsiner (Eds.), Striving for the whole: Creating theoretical syntheses (pp. 21–45). Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Diriwächter, R. (2009a). Idiographic microgenesis: Re-visiting the experimental tradition of Aktualgenese. In J. Valsiner, P. C. M. Molenaar, M. C. D. P. Lyra, & N. Chaudhary (Eds.), Dynamic process methodology in the social and developmental sciences (pp. 319–352). New York, NY: Springer Publications.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  10. Diriwächter, R. (2009b). Heimweh or homesickness: A nostalgic look at the Umwelt that no longer is. In R. I. Sokol (Ed.), Relating to environments: A new look at Umwelt (pp. 163–184). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Diriwächter, R. (2012). Völkerpsychologie. In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Oxford handbook of culture and psychology (pp. 43–57). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Diriwächter, R. (2013). Structure and Hierarchies in Ganzheitspsychologie. In L. Rudolph (Ed.), Qualitative mathematics for the social sciences: Mathematical models for research on cultural dynamics (pp. 189–226). New York, NY: Routledge Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Diriwächter, R., & Valsiner, J. (Eds.). (2008). Striving for the whole: Creating theoretical syntheses. Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Dürkheim-Montmartin, K. (1934). Ganzheit und Struktur: Gemeinschaft. Neue Psychologische Studien, 12, 195–214.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Ehrenstein, W. (1934). Einführung in die Ganzheitspsychologie. Leipzig: Verlag von Johann Ambrosius Barth.

    Google Scholar 

  16. James, W. (1893). Psychology. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Krueger, F. (1915). Über Entwicklungspsychologie: Ihre sachliche und geschichtliche Notwendigkeit. In Arbeiten zur Entwicklungspsychologie, 1. Band - Heft 1. Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Krueger, F. (1953a). Über Psychische Ganzheit. In E. Heuss (Ed.), Zur Philosophie und Psychologie der Ganzheit: Schriften aus den Jahren 1918-1940 (pp. 33–124). Berlin: Springer Verlag Reprinted from Neue Psychologische Studien, 1(1), 1926.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  19. Krueger, F. (1953b). Der Strukturbegriff in der Psychologie. In E. Heuss (Ed.), Zur Philosophie und Psychologie der Ganzheit: Schriften aus den Jahren 1918-1940 (pp. 125–145). Berlin: Springer Verlag Reprinted from Bericht über den 8. Kongress für experimentelle Psychologie, 1924, Jena, Germany: Fischer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  20. Krueger, F. (1953c). Das Wesen der Gefühle. In E. Heuss (Ed.), Zur Philosophie und Psychologie der Ganzheit: Schriften aus den Jahren 1918-1940 (pp. 195–221). Berlin: Springer Verlag Reprinted from Archiv für die gesamte Psychologie, 65, pp. 91-128, 1928.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  21. Krueger, F. (1953d). Die Tiefendimension und die Gegensätzlichkeit des Gefühlslebens. In E. Heuss (Ed.), Zur Philosophie und Psychologie der Ganzheit: Schriften aus den Jahren 1918-1940 (pp. 177–194). Berlin: Springer Verlag Reprinted from Festschrift zu Johannes Volkelts 70. Geburtstag, pp. 265-286, 1918, München, Germany: Beck.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  22. Pepper, S. C. (1942). World hypotheses: A study in evidence. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Rehmke, J. (1911). Zur Lehre vom Gemüt (2nd ed.). Leipzig: Verlag der Dürr’schen Buchhandlung.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Reuning, K. (1941). Joy and Freude. Gettysburg, PA: Times and News.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Rieber, R. W., & Robinson, D. K. (2001). Wilhelm Wundt in history: The making of a scientific psychology. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  26. Sander, F. (1962). Gestaltpsychologie und Kunsttheorie. In F. Sander & H. Volkelt (Eds.), Ganzheitspsychologie (pp. 383–403). München: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung Reprinted from Neue Psychologische Studien, 4, 1932.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Thomae, H. (1958). 3. Band Entwicklungspsychologie. In P. Lersch, F. Sander, H. Thomae, & K. Wilde (Eds.), Handbuch der Psychologie in 12 Bänden (2nd ed.). Göttingen: Verlag für Psychologie.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Valsiner, J. (2000). Culture and human development. London: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Valsiner, J. (Ed.). (2005). Heinz Werner and developmental science. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Valsiner, J. (2012). A guided science: History of psychology in the mirror of its making. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Volkelt, H. (1922). Die Völkerpsychologie in Wundts Entwicklungsgang. In A. Hoffmann (Ed.), Wilhelm Wundt - Eine Würdigung (pp. 74–105). Erfurt: Verlag der Keyserschen Buchhandlung.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Volkelt, H. (1962a). Wilhelm Wundt auf der Schwelle zur Ganzheitspsychologie. In F. Sander & H. Volkelt (Eds.), Ganzheitspsychologie (pp. 15–30). München: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Volkelt, H. (1962b). Grundbegriffe der Ganzheitspsychologie. In F. Sander & H. Volkelt (Eds.), Ganzheitspsychologie (pp. 31–65). München: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung Reprinted from Neue Psychologische Studien, 12, 1934.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Volkelt, H. (1962c). Pädagogische Anwendungen der Genetischen Ganzheitspsychologie. In F. Sander & H. Volkelt (Eds.), Ganzheitspsychologie (pp. 427–435). München: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung Originally presented in 1929 at the Bericht über den 11. Kongress für experimentelle Psychologie in Wien.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Volkelt, H. (1963). Grundfragen der Psychologie. München: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Wellek, A. (1950). Die Wiederherstellung der Seelenwissenschaft im Lebenswerk Felix Kruegers. Hamburg: Richard Meiner Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Wohlfahrt, E. (1932). Der Auffassungsvorgang an kleinen Gestalten. Ein Beitrag zur Psychologie des Vorgestalterlebnisses. Neue Psychologische Studien, 4, 347–414. [Dissertation, Leipzig, 1925].

  38. Wundt, W. (1894). Ueber psychische Causalität und das Princip des psychophysischen Parallelismus. Philosophische Studien, 10(1), 1–125.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Wundt, W. (1908). Grundzüge der Physiologischen Psychologie (Vol. 1, 6th ed.). Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Wundt, W. (1920). Erlebtes und Erkanntes. Stuttgart: Alfred Kröner Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Wundt, W. (1922). Grundriss der Psychologie (15th ed.). Leipzig: Alfred Kröner Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rainer Diriwächter.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Diriwächter, R. Remembering Wilhelm Wundt and the Second Leipzig School of Psychology. Hu Arenas 4, 5–19 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42087-020-00158-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Wilhelm Wundt
  • First Leipzig School of Psychology
  • Voluntarism
  • Emotional will theory
  • Creative synthesis
  • Holism
  • Development
  • Synthesis transformation
  • Genetic Ganzheitspsychologie
  • Second Leipzig School of Psychology