Personality psychology in the past


Personality psychology in the past

Understanding Edward B. Titchener or Sigmund Freud requires considering the Zeitgeist of the communities in which they were born and raised. We have a tendency to read their statements through the prism of our own social constructs, moral standards, worldviews, and cognitive frameworks, and to provide meaning to the events they narrate. This is made all the more challenging by the fact that the materials we are studying were written in a tongue we do not understand, and the translation does not accurately convey the exact meaning that was intended in the original.We are more likely to misunderstand philosophers we are studying whose worldviews are divergent from our own, thus we should use the principles they developed to comprehend their own psycho-social environment and idea of the human, let alone our own, with greater caution. We are cautioned about the difficulties in properly comprehending the material that narrates Alice’s experiences in Wonderland in Martin Gardner’s (2000) preface to his book, The Annotated Alice. Gardner explains:

In the case of Alice, we are dealing with a very peculiar, intricate kind of nonsense that was created for British readers in a different century. In order to fully appreciate the wit and flavour of the text, we must be aware of a large quantity of information that is not included in the text. Even worse, some of Carroll’s jokes could only be comprehended by Oxford residents, and others were so intimate that only the beautiful daughters of Dean Liddell could understand them.

As readers are aware, we refer to the psychological writings of the ancients as philosophy, a name that literally means “love of wisdom.” But this was a catch-all phrase for many different fields. Broad fields of study split into multiple sub-disciplines as research in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries grew more specialised. New terms were adopted in place of the terms we previously used for a broad field, like philosophy. Formerly, philosophy included subjects like logic, political science, rhetoric, physics, ethics, cosmology, epistemology, sociology, and psychology, among others. A large portion of the psychology we value as our prior knowledge comes from researchers who considered themselves to be philosophers (Hilgard, 1987; Mahoney, 1991). In a well-known and influential book, Edna Heidbreder (1933, p. 20), she reminded us that earlier.

Hermeneutics was initially formed to interpret sacred Scripture. Hermeneutics is a scientific field that provides a systematic framework for understanding literature that was written by people whose views and personal experiences were substantially different from our own. It is just as significant in historical literature that deal with psychology.Each of the chapters that follow this Introduction needs to grapple with the “hermeneutical problem” insofar as the subject matter relates to principles that proceed from a historical and cultural context significantly different from our own. Of course, the readers of the chapters that follow differ among themselves with regard to the mediating schemas they employ to interpret historical texts, as well as the actual text they are reading. They will make their own adjustments.

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