2017 – 2019: Brentano – Comte – Mill: The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science

Abstract

The main goal of the project is to change the approach to Brentano’s psychology from analysis of it as a work of the philosophy of mind – which it undoubtedly is to a great extent – to investigation of it from the viewpoint of the method and concept of science as found in A. Comte and J. St. Mill. In this respect 1) it provides a new approach to Brentano – Comte relation starting from the fact that, unlike Brentano’s cyclic theory on the development of the philosophical thought, a theory grounded on the idea of decline and corruption of the theoretical interest, Comte’s view on the evolution of the human thought through its theological, metaphysical and positive stages does not endorse neither decline stages, nor corruption of the theoretical interest; 2) it addresses Brentano’s fourth habilitation thesis: “The true method of philosophy is none other than that of the natural sciences”, through a main distinction within Brentano’s taxonomy of sciences, namely the distinction between metaphysics and psychology within philosophy itself, acquiring the following formula: “The true method of philosophy, hence of metaphysics and psychology, is none other than that of the natural sciences”; it focuses on psychology, and considers the way Brentano’s psychological conception had developed as an expression of a methodological particularism arguing that every science should elaborate its own method based on the specificity and the difficulties of its field of inquiry; 3) it focuses on the similarities and the differences between the concept of positive science, its method and the method of inner perception in all three authors, with particular emphasis on J. St. Mill’s work; simultaneously it relates the most investigated issue from Brentano’s psychology, intentionality, with problems concerning the transition from inorganic to organic in Comte’s positive system of the sciences.