Unlike the first English translation in , this edition contains the text corresponding to Brentano’s original edition. First chapter of Brentano’s Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, setting out the philosophical basis of his work. BRENTANO’S PSYCHOLOGY FROM AN EMPIRICAL STANDPOINT: ITS Abstract. While Brentano’s most important philosophical writings were most certainly.

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Franz Clemens Brentano — is mainly known for his work in philosophy of psychology, especially for having introduced the notion of intentionality to contemporary philosophy. He made important contributions to many fields in philosophy, especially to metaphysics and ontology, ethics, logic, the history of philosophy, and philosophical theology.

Brentano was strongly influenced by Aristotle and the Scholastics as well as by the empiricist and positivist movements of the early nineteenth century.

Due to his introspectionist approach of describing consciousness from a first person point of view, on one hand, and his rigorous style as well as his contention that philosophy should be done with exact methods like the natural sciences, on the other, Brentano is often considered a forerunner of both the phenomenological movement and the tradition of analytic philosophy.

A psychologt teacher, Brentano exerted a strong influence on the work of Edmund Husserl, Alexius Meinong, Christian von Ehrenfels, Kasimir Twardowski, Carl Stumpf, and Anton Marty, among others, and thereby played a central role in the philosophical development of central Europe in the early twentieth century. Franz Brentano was born on January psydhology, in Marienberg brentaon Rhein, Germany, a descendent of a strongly religious German-Italian family of intellectuals his uncle Clemens Brentano and his aunt Bettina von Arnim were among the most important writers of Em;irical Romanticism and his brother Lujo Brentano became a leading expert in social economics.

Already at high school he became acquainted with Scholasticism; at university he studied Aristotle with Trendelenburg in Berlin, and read Comte as well as the British Empiricists mainly John Stuart Millall of brwntano had a great influence on his work.

Psychology from An Empirical Standpoint

Brentano received his Ph. After graduation Brentano prepared to take his vows; he was ordained a Catholic priest in Despite reservations in the faculty about his priesthood he standpont became full professor in During this period, however, Brentano struggled more and more with the official doctrine of the Catholic Church, especially with the dogma of papal infallibility, promulgated at the first Vatican Council in After his HabilitationBrentano had started to work on a large scale work on the foundations of psychology, which he entitled Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint.

The first volume was published ina second volume The Classification of Mental Phenomena followed inand fragments ah the third volume Sensory and Noetic Consciousness were published posthumously by Oskar Kraus in Shortly after the publication of the first volume, Brentano took a job as a full professor at the University of Vienna, where he continued a successful teaching career. During his tenure in Vienna, Brentano, who was very critical towards his own writing, no longer wrote books but turned instead to publishing various lectures.

The latter was Brentano’s first book to be translated into English in When in Brentano and Ida von Lieben decided to wed, standpolnt had to confront empiricak fact that the prevailing law in the Austro-Hungarian Empire denied matrimony to persons who had been ordained priests — even if they later had resigned from priesthood.

They surmounted this obstacle by temporarily moving to and becoming citizens of Saxony, where they finally got married. This was possible only by temporarily giving up the Brentan citizenship and, in consequence, the job as full professor at the University.

When Brentano came back to Vienna a few months later, the Austrian authorities did not reassign psychologgy his position.

Brentano enpirical Privatdozenta status that allowed him to go on teaching — but did not entitle him to receive a salary or to supervise theses. For several years he tried in vain to get his position back. In he settled down in Florence where he got married to Emilie Ruprecht in Brentano has often been described as an extraordinarily charismatic teacher.

Throughout his life he influenced a great number of students, many of who became important philosophers and psychologists in their own rights, such as Edmund Husserl, Alexius Meinong, Christian von Ehrenfels, Anton Marty, Carl Stumpf, Kasimir Twardowski, as well as Sigmund Freud. Many of his students became professors all over the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Marty and Ehrenfels in Prague, Meinong in Graz, and Twardowski in Lvov now Lvivand so spread Brentanianism over the whole Austro-Hungarian Empire, which explains the central role of Brentano in the philosophical development in central Europe, especially in what was later called the Stahdpoint Tradition in philosophy.

Brentano always emphasized that he meant to teach his students to think critically and in a scientific manner, without holding prejudices and paying undue respect to philosophical schools or traditions. When former students of his took a critical approach to his own work, however, when they criticized some of his doctrines and modified others to adapt them for their own goals, Brentano reacted bitterly.


He often refused to discuss criticism, ignored improvements, and thus became more and more isolated, a development that was reinforced by his increasing blindness. Due to these eye-problems Brentano could not read or write any longer, but had his wife read to him and dictated his work to her.

Nonetheless, he produced a number of books in srandpoint years in Florence. In he published Untersuchungen zur Sinnespsychologiea collection of shorter texts on psychology. In he presented not only the psychologj volume of his Psychology from an Empirical Standpointbut also two books on Aristotle: This debate had started already in the s, when Brentano criticized Zeller’s interpretation of Aristotle in his Psychology of Aristotle and became quite intense and aggressive in the seventies and eighties of the nineteenth century.

When Italy entered war against Germany and Austria during World War I, Brentano, who felt himself a citizen of all three countries, moved from Florence to neutral Switzerland. He passed away in Zurich on March 17, Their attempt to set up a Brentano-archive in Prague was supported by Tomas Masaryk, a former student of Brentano spychology had become founder and first President from to of the Republic of Czechoslovakia.

Alas, due to the political turbulences that were to came over central Europe psycholofy project was doomed to fail. Substantial parts of the Nachlass were transferred to different places in the United States, some of it has later been brought back to Europe, especially to the Brentano-Forschungsstelle at the University of Graz, Austria, and the Brentano family archive in Blonay, Switzerland.

For a detailed history of Brentano’s Nachlasscf. Kastil and Kraus did succeed, however, to begin to publish posthumously some of the lecture notes, letters, and drafts he had left.

They tried to present Brentano’s work as best as they could, putting together various texts to what they thought were rounded, convincing works, sometimes following questionable editorial criteria. Their work was continued by other, more careful editors, but has by far not yet been completed: One of Brentano’s main principles was that philosophy should be done with methods that are as rigorous and exact as the methods of the natural sciences.

This standpoint is clearly mirrored in his empirical approach to psychology. He emphasized that all our knowledge should be based on direct experience. He did psyfhology hold, however, that this experience needs to be made from a third-person point of view, and thus opposes what has become a standard of empirical science nowadays.

Brentano rather argued a form of introspectionism: Brentano’s approach, like that of other introspectionist psychologists of the late nineteenth century, was harshly criticized with the rise of scientific psychology in the tradition of logical positivism, especially by the behaviorists.

This should not obscure the fact that Brentano did play a crucial role in the process of psychology becoming an independent science. He distinguished between genetic and empirical or, as he later called it, descriptive psychology, a distinction that is most explicitly drawn in his Descriptive Psychology.

Franz Brentano (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Genetic psychology studies psychological phenomena from a third-person point of view. It involves the use of empirical experiments and thus satisfies the scientific standards we nowadays expect of an empirical science.

Even though Brentano never practiced experimental psychology himself, he very actively supported the installation of the first laboratories for experimental psychology in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a development that was continued by his student Alexius Meinong in Graz.

Brentano’s distinction between genetic and descriptive psychology strongly influenced Husserl’s development of the phenomenological method, especially in its early phases, a development of which Brentano could not approve for it involved the intuition of abstract essences, the existence of which Brentano denied.

In order to give flesh to this definition of the discipline, he provides a more detailed characterization of mental phenomena. He proposes six criteria to distinguish mental from physical phenomena, the most important of which are: I will discuss the first two criteria in this section, and the third in a separate section below. According to Brentano, the former of these two forms of perception provides an unmistakable evidence for what is true.

He points out that inner perception must not be mixed up with inner observation, i. It is rather interwoven with the latter: As a consequence, Brentano denies the idea that there could be unconscious mental acts: He admits, however, that we can have mental acts of various degrees of intensity.

In addition, he holds that the degree of intensity with which the object is presented is equal to the degree of intensity in which the secondary object, i. Consequently, if we have a mental act of a very low intensity, our secondary consciousness of this act also will have a very low intensity.

From this Brentano concludes that sometimes we are inclined to say that we had an unconscious mental phenomenon when actually we only had a conscious mental phenomenon of very low intensity. Consciousness, Brentano argues, always forms a unity.


While we can perceive a pshchology of physical phenomena at one and the same time, we can only perceive one mental phenomenon at a specific point in time.

When we seem to have more than one mental act at a time, like when we hear a melody while tasting a sip of red wine and enjoying the beautiful view from the window, all these mental phenomena melt into one, they become moments or, to stick with Brentano’s terminology, divisives of a collective. If one of the divisives ends in the course of time, e.

Brentano’s views on the unity of consciousness entail that inner observation, as explained above, is strictly impossible, i. One can remember another mental act one had a moment earlier, or expect future mental acts, but due to the unity of consciousness one cannot have two mental acts, one of which empircal directed towards the other, at the same time.

Franz Brentano, Psychology From an Empirical Standpoint – PhilPapers

Brentano points out that we can be directed towards one and the same object in different ways and he accordingly distinguishes three kinds of mental phenomena: These are not three distinct classes, though. Presentations are the most basic kind of acts; we have a presentation each time when we are directed towards an object, be it that we are imagining, seeing, remembering, or expecting it, etc. In his Psychology Brentano held that two presentations can differ only in the object, towards which they are directed.

Later he modified his position, standpolnt, and argued that they can also differ in various modes, such as temporal modes. The two other categories, judgments and phenomena of love and hate, are based on presentations. In a judgment we accept or deny the existence of the presented object. A judgment, thus, is a presentation plus a qualitative mode of acceptance or denial. In these acts we have positive or negative feelings standpoiht an object.

Brentano is probably best known for having introduced the notion of intentionality to contemporary philosophy. He first characterizes this notion with the following words, which have become the classical, albeit not completely unambiguous formulation of the intentionality thesis:. Every mental phenomenon is characterized by what the Scholastics of the Middle Ages called the intentional psychollgy mental inexistence of an object, and what we might call, though not wholly unambiguously, reference to a content, direction toward an object which is not to be understood here as meaning a thingor immanent objectivity.

Every mental phenomenon includes something as object within itself Brentano, Psychology This quotation must be understood in context: The passage clearly suggests, however, that the intentional object towards which we are directed is part of the psychological act. It is something mental rather than physical. Some Brentano scholars have recently argued that this immanent reading of the intentionality thesis is too strong.

In the light of other texts by Brentano from the same period they argue that he distinguishes between intentional correlate and object, and that the existence of the latter does empirlcal depend on our being directed towards it.

If we try to resolve the problem by taking the intentional object brentaano be identical with the real object, on the other hand, we face the difficulty psyxhology explaining how we can brentanoo mental phenomena that are directed towards non-existing objects such as Hamlet, the golden mountain, or a round square.

Like my thinking about the city of Paris, all ffrom acts are intentionally directed towards an object, with the difference, however, that their objects do not really exist. Brentano’s initial formulation brenatno the intentionality-thesis does not address these problems concerning the ontological status of the intentional object.

The first attempt of Brentano’s students to overcome these difficulties was made by Twardowski, who distinguished between content and object of the act, the former of which is immanent to the act, the latter not. This distinction strongly influenced other members of the Brentano School, mainly the two students for who the notion of intentionality had the most central place, Meinong and Husserl. Psycholgy theory of objects can best be understood as a reaction to the ontological difficulties in Brentano’s account.

Rather than accepting the notion of an immanent content, Meinong argues that the intentional relation is always a relation between the mental act and an object. In some cases the intentional object does not exist, but even in these cases there is an object external to the mental stadpoint towards which we are directed.