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explored the mind in a nonexperimental context. In James™s case, the
Disciplining the Individual and the Mind
36

focus was on psychical and supernatural phenomena, religious belief,
and pedagogy.
Psychology may have emerged from physiology and philosophy, but for
both Wundt and James it was never simply the extension of physiological
methodology to mental functions, nor merely the application of scien-
ti¬c techniques to resolve traditional philosophical questions about the
mind. It is not just that both Wundt and James had a more encompassing
conception of what the discipline of psychology was and to which other
¬elds it was allied than do the majority of contemporary psychologists, but
that they exploited the ¬‚uidity of the discipline in recognizing problems
with and limits to speci¬c methodologies and assumptions. Perhaps this is
simply one way in which they both remained philosophers in establishing
the discipline of psychology.


4 disciplining the social aspects of the mind
If the object of study of psychology distinguished it from physiology as an
antecedently (but recently) established discipline within the university
system, and its experimental methodology distinguished it from philos-
ophy, it was psychology™s concern with mental processes that occurred
within the individual that distinguished it from the later-developing ¬eld
of sociology. Social psychology is concerned largely with social aspects of
individual cognition, while sociologists are concerned with social systems
that are constituted by and in¬‚uence the actions of individuals. This ba-
sic division remains in place today, with the ¬eld of social cognition, a
recent incarnation of how psychologists working within a cognitive and
often computational framework approach the social aspect to individual
cognition. Perhaps the most integrative perspectives within the two dis-
ciplines are to be found in the revival of symbolic interactionism within
both recent social psychology and sociology via a reappreciation of the
work of George Herbert Mead and Irving Goffman.7
August Comte has sometimes been represented as the founder of both
sociology and social psychology, and in characterizing sociology as a later-
developing discipline than psychology, I might be accused of overlooking
this or of ignoring the contribution of Comte to both disciplines. Comte™s
views themselves are interesting, especially in the context of thinking
about the later demarcation of sociology from psychology in terms of
what occurs within the boundary of an individual.
Comte coined the term sociologie as one of two species of “psychic” sci-
ence. In doing so, Comte conceived of two aspects to the mind, leading
Individuals, Psychology, and the Mind 37

to two distinct paths to its study: the “static aspect,” leading to the study
of the organic, bodily basis for the mind, and the “dynamic aspect,” lead-
ing to sociology. According to Comte, this latter study “will simply amount
to tracing the course actually followed by the human mind in action,
through the examination of the methods really employed to obtain the
exact knowledge that it has already acquired.” That is, sociology, what
Comte also called “social physics,” would be a science based on the meth-
ods of natural science, these being those that have led to exact knowledge.
It would study complex relations between organisms in the way in which
physiology was beginning to study complex relations within organisms.8
This left no room for what would become the distinctive science of
psychology. Indeed, writing in the second quarter of the nineteenth cen-
tury, Comte was skeptical of the idea that there could be a distinctive
psychological science, particularly one that made use of introspection,
on the grounds that this constituted a metaphysical rather than a positive
stage in the development of the science. Somewhat later, in his System
of Positive Polity, Comte foresaw the necessity of a science that integrated
physiology and sociology. Calling this science la morale, Comte claimed
that it would be “able to reduce to a system the special knowledge of
man™s individual nature, by duly combining the two points of view, the
Biologic, and the Sociologic, in which that nature must be necessarily
regarded.” But Comte died before this sort of suggestive comment was
developed more fully. Writing before psychology had been disciplined,
and given Comte™s own positivism about scienti¬c inquiry, it is not clear
what shape la morale was to take.9
The interface between psychology and sociology qua disciplines in
the late nineteenth century was the nascent ¬eld of social psychology,
with both disciplines able to treat it from their own perspective. The
¬rst textbook with “social psychology” in the title appeared in 1908, and
was written by the sociologist Edward A. Ross. Ross used the metaphors
of planes and currents of mental states to characterize social psychol-
ogy, claiming that “[s]ocial psychology . . . studies the psychic planes and
currents that come into existence among men in consequence of their
association.” Ross was concerned to explain the “planes of uniformity”
that one ¬nds across individuals with respect to beliefs and actions as well
as the dynamics of the currents that sweep up individuals when they act
as members of a group at a particular time, such as during a lynching. As
a form of psychology, social psychology focuses on these planes and
currents as they act on individuals. This contrasts with sociology, which
focuses on human groups and structures themselves. What demarcates
Disciplining the Individual and the Mind
38

social psychology from psychology more generally for Ross is that social
psychology is concerned to identify causes of individual human behav-
ior that derive from outside the individual; these Ross calls suggestions,
and his focus is on social factors that in¬‚uence the human psychologi-
cal disposition to suggestibility. Note that for Ross, social psychology is a
discipline that theorizes exclusively about human beings.10
There is an interesting contrast between this perspective on social
psychology and that of the psychologist William McDougall, whose An
Introduction to Social Psychology also appeared in 1908. McDougall is chie¬‚y
concerned to show that there is an area of psychology “ social psychology “
that treats an individual™s psychology as more encompassing than simply
that individual™s consciousness or mental life, and that serves as the foun-
dation for the social sciences. Put the other way around, McDougall seeks
to show, against sociologists such as Durkheim and Comte, that the social
sciences are not independent of psychology, since there is a conception
of psychology that is broader than the experimental introspectionism
that had been extracted from Wundt™s approach to scienti¬c psychol-
ogy. This aspect of psychology studies an individual™s innate instincts,
and McDougall identi¬es its appeal to evolutionary theory as the ground
for the expectation of psychological continuities between humans and
(other) animals. The ¬rst three-quarters of McDougall™s book (Section I)
is devoted to his instinct theory; only the last quarter (Section II) turns
to how some of these instincts operate to form the basis of human soci-
eties. Amongst McDougall™s list of instincts are ¬‚ight, repulsion, curiosity,
pugnacity, self-abasement, and self-assertion “ which play little role in his
account of human social organization “ and the parental, reproductive,
and gregarious instincts “ which play a more signi¬cant role here.
Here I want to register three points of contrast between Ross and
McDougall in terms of how they conceptualize the social aspect of psychol-
ogy. First, while McDougall is particularly concerned to explain human
social life on the basis of a subset of his instincts, on his conception instinct
theory should also explain features of nonhuman social life. Thus, the
scope of social psychology is broader than it is under Ross™s conception.
Second, as a psychologist, McDougall begins with a rich conception of
what is within the individual and offers a much thinner characterization
of the social phenomena that his instincts purport to explain, while Ross,
as a sociologist, has just the opposite emphasis or bias. Third, McDougall
is wary not only of social science that ignores psychology but that which
builds on what he regards as a misleading psychology. Included here
would likely be Ross™s own appeal to suggestibility as a basic feature of
the human mind, it being little more than an attribution to individuals
Individuals, Psychology, and the Mind 39

of a psychological disposition that parallels a social phenomenon, that of
individuals whose actions are in¬‚uenced by the suggestion of others.
In the previous section, I argued, in effect, that psychology overcame
a putative subsumptive challenge from both physiology and philosophy
by demarcating itself in terms, respectively, of its endorsement of experi-
mental methodology and its articulation of a distinct level of organismic
abstraction. One might wonder, by contrast, whether the “within the in-
dividual” criterion really functioned (and functions) to demarcate social
psychology from sociology. In fact, sociology never posed a threat of sub-
sumption to psychology; rather, from the outset, sociology itself was con-
cerned to establish its own autonomy from other disciplines, including
psychology.
Perhaps best known here is Emile Durkheim™s statement that “a social
fact can be explained only by another social fact . . . Sociology is, then, not
an auxiliary of any other science; it is in itself a distinct and autonomous
science.” This aspect to Durkheim™s thought is provokingly developed in
a classic discussion of the nature of representation in psychology. Writ-
ing after the foundations had been laid for the discipline of psychology,
Durkheim recognized an individual level of representation that governs
individual behavior, but claimed that in addition there are collective repre-
sentations that are not in any sense reducible to or explainable by refer-
ence solely to what goes on in the heads of individuals. Just as individual
representations are no mere “echo” or epiphenomena of cerebral activ-
ity, claimed Durkheim, so too are collective representations not inherent
in or intrinsic to individual minds. Durkheim sought to distinguish such
collective representations from anything interior to individuals, and in so
doing was the ¬rst in a long line of social scientists to create or maintain
a space for social sciences, which relied little, if at all, on psychology. We
will return to discuss this idea of collective representations in Part Four.11
The foregoing historical reconstruction of the partial origins of psy-
chology as a distinct discipline, brief as it is, takes us beyond the obvious
fact that psychology concerns ¬rst and foremost individual human agents
to the more interesting issue of the ways in which human agency has been
construed in psychology. For philosophers, physiologists, and sociologists
not only generalized and theorized about the individual: Each construed
the individual in a particular way. Philosophers concerned with the mind
thought of the individual as a receiver of sense impressions from the
world (in the empiricist tradition) or as the source of innate ideas (in the
rationalist tradition). Physiologists viewed individuals as complicated sets
of biological systems that were integrated into a functioning whole. And
sociologists saw the individual as a Janus-faced ¬gure at the intersection
Disciplining the Individual and the Mind
40

of the purely biological or physical world and the social world. Each of
these disciplines, of necessity, abstracted away from individuals in situ.
In the next two sections, and following the work of the historian of
psychology Kurt Danziger, I shall focus on the abstractions made within
psychology itself and the ways in which they have shaped the sort of
science that psychology has become, particularly the ways in which psy-
chology was developed as an experimental science. In particular, I shall
discuss the conception of individuals in the psychological paradigms ini-
tiated by Wundt, and then turn to that within the Galtonian paradigm for
psychology. Both abstract individuals from their social and physical con-
texts in an attempt to make individuals scienti¬cally and mathematically
tractable, but do so in very different ways.12


5 wundt™s individuals
For introspection to yield a repeatable, quanti¬able result, not any old
inward-looking report under physical stimulation would do, and unreg-
imented introspection yielded reports that varied in accord with the
theoretical proclivities of the laboratories in which they were produced.
Within Wundtian experimental psychology, one solution was to ensure
that the subject was someone with a sort of expertise in being able to
attend to and report on the contents of his or her consciousness cor-
rectly under experimental conditions. It is for this reason that Wundt
himself or one of his assistants typically played the role of subject in his
experiments; as Danziger says, “the experimental subject was the scien-
ti¬c observer, and the experimenter was really a kind of experimental
assistant.” The reliability of one™s ¬ndings was measured in the ¬rst in-
stance by intrasubjective agreement over repeated trials, with replication
of this reliability across subjects being initially of less signi¬cance. As
Danziger puts it, in the Wundtian paradigm the individual subject was an
“exemplar of the generalized human mind,” and intersubjective replica-
tion of an experimental ¬nding served simply to con¬rm an antecedently
established ¬nding.13
As we have seen, Wundt himself thought that you could investigate
only elementary psychological processes through this method, with com-
plex processes being studied in the broader social contexts in which
they were embedded, and through methods that linked psychology to
the humanities and social sciences. Whatever Wundt™s own intent, his
view amounted to a sort of bipartite view of the psychological, with the
experimental subject investigated individualistically and the individual™s
Individuals, Psychology, and the Mind 41

broader psychological features, such as his personality, his temporally ex-
tended consciousness, his sociality, divorced from this paradigm and stud-
ied largely beyond the laboratory. It was a relatively small step from such
a bipartite view of the psychological to full-scale psychological apartheid,
whereby only the individualistic construal of the individual survived as a
part of psychology proper.
Thus, even though the particular identity of the individual subject
was important to the success of the Wundtian experiment, this was a
thin identity, not one to which the person more fully considered was
relevant. This assumption about individuals “ that speci¬c aspects of their
mental processing can be experimentally investigated in isolation from
the broader psychological and social pro¬les of those individuals “ has
been generalized in contemporary psychology and survived through the
behaviorist and cognitive revolutions of the twentieth century.
The Wundtian paradigm thus both relied on a thin construal of the
subject and recognized limitations of the scope of experimental psychol-
ogy. These two aspects of the Wundtian construction of the individual
were corollaries of his attempt to study the “generalized human mind”
scienti¬cally, and both promoted an individualistic view of the discipline
of psychology. The individualism within the experimental part of the
Wundtian paradigm “ its bracketing off of the individual™s broader psy-
chological and social life in order to focus on understanding elementary
psychological processes “ might be thought to be a necessary corollary
of any experimental investigation of psychological processes that occur
within the head of an individual and that are not simply idiosyncratic
to that individual. The very point of experimentation, after all, is to iso-
late the speci¬c factor responsible for a certain, observable effect: Brack-
eting off or controlling certain factors is necessary in order to investi-
gate others. But while this general point about experimental control is
true, this leads to individualism about psychology only on the assumption
that embedded aspects to an individual™s mental states can always be (or
even are ideally) bracketed out through experimental control and leave
something of genuine psychological interest. In Parts Two and Three, I
shall argue that an individual™s mind may be more deeply socially and
physically embedded than this implies.


6 galton™s individuals
Sir Francis Galton, a ¬rst cousin of Charles Darwin, was an idiosyncratic
pioneer in a variety of areas of what was becoming psychology in the
Disciplining the Individual and the Mind
42

late nineteenth century. Consider three of his better known initiatives,
all of which have left their trace on contemporary psychology. Galton
developed techniques of composite portraiture and applied them to the
study of judgments of beauty; he introduced statistical techniques for
generalizing about groups of subjects; and he initiated the use of twin
studies in studying the mind. In addition, Galton systematically explored
speci¬c mental faculties (such as that for mental imagery), and placed
the scienti¬c examination of mental qualities in an evolutionary and an-
thropological context. Unlike Wundt and James, Galton conducted most

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