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The rise and fall of moral algebra: Francis Hutcheson and the mathematization of psychology

The rise and fall of moral algebra: Francis Hutcheson and the mathematization of psychology Until recently historians of psychology have typically argued that mathematical analysis in psychology originated with Herbart in nineteenth‐century Germany. Among those who are now recognized to have pedated Herbart is Francis Hutcheson. In 1725, Hutcheson published a mathematical statement of his theory of the psychological basis of moral behavior and judgment. Hutcheson's attempt to present a theory of social behavior in mathematical terms is described and an analysis is presented of the background which led Hutcheson to adopt such a mathematical format. The work of several imitators of this aspect of Hutcheson's opus is considered and the role of his critic, Thomas Reid, in halting such mathematizing efforts for several decades in Britain is noted. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences Wiley

The rise and fall of moral algebra: Francis Hutcheson and the mathematization of psychology

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1981 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0022-5061
eISSN
1520-6696
DOI
10.1002/1520-6696(198107)17:3<343::AID-JHBS2300170306>3.0.CO;2-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Until recently historians of psychology have typically argued that mathematical analysis in psychology originated with Herbart in nineteenth‐century Germany. Among those who are now recognized to have pedated Herbart is Francis Hutcheson. In 1725, Hutcheson published a mathematical statement of his theory of the psychological basis of moral behavior and judgment. Hutcheson's attempt to present a theory of social behavior in mathematical terms is described and an analysis is presented of the background which led Hutcheson to adopt such a mathematical format. The work of several imitators of this aspect of Hutcheson's opus is considered and the role of his critic, Thomas Reid, in halting such mathematizing efforts for several decades in Britain is noted.

Journal

Journal of the History of the Behavioral SciencesWiley

Published: Jul 1, 1981

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