Journal of East China Normal University(Educationa ›› 2015, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (1): 91-96.

• Psychology(心理学) • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Theoretical Modalities of Descriptive Psychology

WANG Shen lian ; GUO Ben yu   

  1. 1. Pedagogy Postdoctoral Research Station, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China;2. School of Psychology, Research Institute of Moral Education, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China
  • Online:2015-04-24 Published:2015-05-12
  • Contact: WANG Shen lian ; GUO Ben yu
  • About author:WANG Shen lian ; GUO Ben yu

Abstract: Descriptive psychology was a branch of human science psychology, cofounded by Brentano and Dilthey at the start up period of scientific psychology. It held that we should present the whole picture of human mental life as what it is through phenomenological description or hermeneutical understanding. Descriptive psychology evolved along rigorous scientific tradition and romantic tradition, each of which mainly exhibited three distinctive theoretical modalities. The former included Brentano’ s act descriptive psychology, Stumpf’ s functional descriptive psychology, and Husserl’ s essential descriptive psychology; the latter included Dilthey’s lived experience descriptive psychology, Spranger’s structural descriptive psychology, and Stern’s personality descriptive psychology. Each of all the six theoretical modalities had its own basic principles, theoretical focus, and methodology preference. They formed a strong alliance to prevent psychology from becoming a nature science within the framework of descriptive psychology. They jointly opposed genetic psychology or explanatory psychology built on nature science and created by Wundt and others.

Key words: descriptive psychology, human science, description, understanding, theoretical modality