G.F. Stout’s Philosophical Psychology

  • Elizabeth R. Valentine
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 295)


My aim in this chapter will be to present some of the chief doctrines of George Frederick Stout’s philosophical psychology, particularly those which may have a bearing on current issues in cognitive science. As the main purpose is one of exposition, I shall rely heavily on quotations from his writings. Stout was an armchair psychologist: experimental psychology was for him a source of information rather than a substitute for thinking. It is peculiarly difficult to give an account of his philosophy for several reasons. The various strands are all closely interwoven. For example, embedded in his concept of noetic synthesis are criticisms of association, the doctrine of unity, and the role of thought in sensation. His philosophy is a synthesis. Mace reports that he once gleefully remarked: “I have got them all in my system.”1 Stout favours the via media; thus each statement must be qualified, easily leading to apparent paradox. In my view, these are more serious sources of difficulty than his terminology, though this can be confusing. On the one hand, he expresses new ideas in old-fashioned ways (“He hid his twentieth century light under a nineteenth century bushel”).2 More commonly, he expresses the same ideas in different ways.


Physical Object Analytic Psychology Individual Consciousness Representative Theory Mere Appearance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth R. Valentine
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEgham, SurreyUK

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