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Psychologism is a generic type of position in philosophy according to which psychology plays a central role in grounding or explaining some other, non-psychological type of fact or law. Although some regard the proposition that philosophical questions can be answered by empirical (psychological) means as a fallacy. [1]

The most common types of psychologism are logical psychologism and mathematical psychologism.

John Stuart Mill seems to have been an advocate of a type of logical psychologism (although his rejection of a static ontology arguably makes his psychologism flexible enough to accommodate its detractors' criticisms), as were many nineteenth-century German logicians such as Sigwart and Erdmann as well as a number of psychologists, past and present: for example, Gustave Le Bon. Psychologism was famously criticized by Frege in his The Foundations of Arithmetic, and many of his works and essays, including his review of Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic. Edmund Husserl, in the first volume of his Logical Investigations, called "The Prolegomena of Pure Logic", criticized psychologism thoroughly and sought to distance himself from it. The "Prolegomena" is considered a more concise, fair, and thorough refutation of psychologism than the criticisms made by Frege, and also it is considered today by many as being a memorable refutation for its decisive blow to psychologism. Psychologism was also criticized by Charles Sanders Peirce and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

See alsoEdit


  1. O'Donohue, W. and Kitchener, R.F. (1996). The Philosophy of Psychology. London:Sage.

Further readingEdit

  • Stam, H. J. (2000). Logic or psychologism: Smedslund's psycho-logic and health. Journal of Health Psychology, 5, 161-164. Full text

External linksEdit

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