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Carl Stumpf (21 April 1848 - 25 December 1936) was a philosopher and psychologist. He studied with Franz Brentano and Rudolf Hermann Lotze. He had an important influence on Edmund Husserl, the founder of modern phenomenology, Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka, co-founders of Gestalt psychology, as well as the renowned Austrian novelist Robert Musil who was his doctoral student. Stumpf is also credited with the introduction in current philosophy of the concept of state of affairs (Sachverhalt), which was later popularised through Husserl's works. He also formed a panel of 13 eminent scientists, known as the Hans Commission, to study the claims that a horse named Clever Hans could count. Psychologist Oskar Pfungst eventually proved that the horse could not really count.
Stumpf was one of the earliest students of Brentano and always remained quite close to his early teachings. He wrote his dissertation under the supervision of Lotze at the University of Göttingen (1868) and also did his habilitation there (1870). Later in his life he became more and more interested in empirical methods in experimental psychology and effectively became one of the pioneers in this discipline. He held a teaching position in Göttingen, then became a professor at Würzburg and later at Prague, Halle, Munich and finally Berlin, where he founded the Berlin School of experimental psychology, which was later to become the base of operation for Gestalt psychology. Stumpf famously quarreled with Wilhelm Wundt, then the most prominent figure in German experimental psychology (and by extension, the world), over the psychology of audio tones. Stumpf was a good friend and frequent correspondent with the American psychologist and philosopher William James, who also had issues with Wundt.
- Picture, short biography, and bibliography in the Virtual Laboratory of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
- Autobiography from History of Psychology in Autobiography Vol. 1 (1930), p. 389-441, at York University "Classics in the History of Psychology"
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