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The psyche between nature and culture in Edith Stein and William Stern

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Carolina de Resende Damas Cardoso
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Marina Massimi; Cristiano Roque Antunes Barreira; Márcio Luiz Fernandes; Paulo Roberto de Andrada Pacheco; Gilberto Safra
Advisor: Marina Massimi

The present research was realized in accordance with the history of psychological field. Its object was the conceptual and historical study of some works of two German intellectuals from the beginning of the 20th century: Edith Stein (1891-1942) and William Stern (1871-1938). Those works are: Contributions to the philosophical foundation of psychology and the human sciences (1922) by Edith Stein; Psychology and Personalism (1917) and General Psychology from the personalistic point of view (1938), by William Stern. Between the two authors there are similarities in respect to the topics they\'ve studied and also a precise historical relationship highlighted in their biographies: Stern taught psychology in Breslau and Stein attended his classes as a student in 1911-12. Nevertheless, researches that takes up the theoretical relationship between the two are scarce. The objective of this thesis was to learn the elaboration of the concept of psyche and its relation with nature and culture in the proposals of scientific psychology that the two authors formulated in those works. For our analysis, the historical-conceptual method was used: the German, Spanish and English editions of the works of Edith Stein and William Stern were used as primary sources; secondary sources were used to deepen the historical context of German philosophy and psychology of the time. The questions that guided the research referred to: 1) understand how each of the two authors conceived the object of psychology at the interface between the natural world and the world of culture; 2) to highlight the similarities, differences and possible contributions that these perspectives can bring to contemporary psychology. In carrying out their respective philosophical and scientific analyzes, both authors put themselves before the philosophical, psychological and political context of the time. Faced with a complex and diverse historical picture, especially in Germany, the psychology just proclaimed science still sought to establish itself according to the models of the experimental sciences. We were able to evidence possibilities of dialogue between the phenomenological proposal of Edith Stein regarding the foundation of scientific psychology and some epistemological questions that William Stern sought to answer throughout his intellectual trajectory. The main point of encounter between both is the proposal of foundation of the psychology from the concept of Person. If the definitions diverge, however, the starting point is shared: concerns about the reduction of soul science to the mechanics of the natural sciences. Edith Stein and William Stern warn us of a timeless truth about this science: there is no way to separate it from philosophy without reducing it, on the one hand, to scientific naturalism (currently represented by neurosciences), and, on the other hand, to the human sciences (now oriented by relativist, post-structuralist movements). Only a rigorous philosophical elaboration of the concept of Person can integrate nature and culture without reducing one to the other and, therefore, provide to Psychology a valid foundation and autonomy in the dialogue with the other natural or cultural sciences. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 13/03672-0 - The psyche between nature and culture in Edith Stein and William Stern
Grantee:Carolina de Resende Damas Cardoso
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate