• Charles W. Tolman
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


Are we “flogging a dead horse,” as Wisdom (1963, p. 335) has put it, or is the legacy left behind sufficiently substantial and important to warrant our continuing attention? Hanfling (1981, p. 1) maintains that “Logical Positivism has left a mark on philosophy that is still very much in evidence today.” This appears to be the case in psychology as well. However, there is an important difference between the remnants of logical positivism in philosophy and those in psychology. In philosophy the legacy is a relatively conscious one and displays itself largely as a continuing interest in language and meaning. In psychology the legacy is largely implicit even appearing from time to time as a militant antipositivism, while preserving intact some of the more self-destructive tenets of neopositivism. This peculiar state of affairs stems, it appears, from the fact that theoretical responses in our discipline to the well-known demise of neopositivism have been based on superficial and incomplete understandings of this philosophy and of the reasons for its decline and dissolution. The chapters in this book are aimed at contributing to a reexamination of positivism and neopositivism in psychology with a view ultimately to more effectively correcting its errors as they are found in the theoretical and methodological thinking of psychologists.


Perception Theory Linguistic Meaning Causal Efficacy Peculiar State Efficient Causation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles W. Tolman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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