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

Alexandru Dragomir - Institute for Philosophy's project

Project development

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS

2019

Between January 2019 and September 2019, the members of the project team investigated the topic The Issues of Psychology and Inner Observation in Brentano, Comte and Mill, by deepening the study of the relations between Brentanian psychology and the way in which the positive school of thought of the XIX-th century conceived the methodology of psychology. This year, the main goal of the research team was that of finalizing the texts presented at the international conference of this project, in order to publish them in the forthcoming international volume with the title Franz Brentano and the Positive Philosphy. Studies on the Positive Conception of Philosophy and Psychology (I. Tănăsescu, A. Bejinariu, C. Stoenescu (eds.); the volume includes in the „Annex” the translation of five fundamental texts of Brentano, which are relevant for the topics of our project. DeGruyter publishing house has manifested its interest for publishing this volume. Since in April this year the funding that was cut last year was restored to the project, we allocated funds for the translation and publishing of two significant works for the theme of the project: the translation of three early studies of Comte, important for the genesis of his positive thought, and the partial translation of one of the most important works of the psychological philosophy from the second half of the 19th century, Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt (1874) of Franz Brentano. Two members of the research team organized the panel Husserl’s Phenomenology and Brentano’s Psychology, at „Shifting Roles. The Manifold Identities of Phenomenology” (Bucharest, 26-28 September 2019).

In this framework, the research tasks were assigned as follows:

Dr. Ion Tănăsescu, project manager, investigated the topic “Intentionality, Hierarchy of Phenomena, Psychology and Inner Observation in Brentano and Comte”; he wrote the study „Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint as Contribution to Comte and Mill’s Positive Philosophy” (21 p.; the paper represents the last part of the text „Brentano and Comte – The theory of stages and the psychology” (in the international volume of the project; 65 p.), is the extended and modified version of the last part (11 p.) of the introductory study to the Romanian volume  Brentano – Comte – Mill: The Idea of Philosophy as Science (2018, European Institute Publishing House, Iasi, 223 p.), and was translated into English by Bianca Savu; he also wrote the study “Die Hierarchie der Wissenschaften und die Heterogenität der Phänomene in Brentanos empirischer Psychologie” (the English version of this paper “The hierarchy of sciences and the heterogeneity of phenomena in Brentano’s empirical psychology” (19 p.; translated into English by Alexandru Bejinariu) makes up the last part of the article written together with Michel Bourdeau for the international volume of the project: “The intentionality and the hierarchy of phenomena and sciences in Comte’s Cours and in Brentano’s empirical psychology (30 p.)”; this year, his paper, „Monism and Particularism: Methodology in Brentano’s Psychology”, Axiomathes August 2019, Volume 29, Issue 4, p. 397–412 (A category journal, ISI indexed) was published; Ion Tănăsescu also gave the following presentations: 1. Brentano’s Empirical Psychology as a Contribution to Positive Philosophy and the Problem of Inner Perception at „Back to Brentano again. Workshop of the Brentano Research Network”, July 3, 2019, Venue: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich (Institute of Physiology, Pettenkoferstrasse 12); 2. Husserl und Brentano: die Auseinandersetzung mit der Phantasiebegriff, at Husserl’s Phenomenology of Phantasy and Emotions (18-19 July 2019, Universität zu Köln, Philosphische Fakultät); 3. Brentano and Husserl: Some Unresearched Aspects, at „Shifting Roles. The Manifold Identities of Phenomenology” (Bucharest, 26-28 September 2019: the 5th Conference on Traditions and Perspectives of the Phenomenological Movement in Central and Eastern Europe).

Prof. dr. Constantin Stoenescu (part-time, ½ norm) researched and elaborated an article with the theme “Brentano’s view about natural science and its consequences on psychology. The debate about the methodological phenomenalism” (in the international volume of the project; 38 pages). He published the article “The Genesis of Positivist Tradition and the Mathematization of Humanities”, Revista de Filosofie (BDI), LXVI, no. 2, 2019, p. 150-165. He also gave the lecture “Before the division between Analytic and Continental: Comte, Mill, Brentano and the positivist turning point in philosophy”, at the international conference Philosophy Nowadays – Cultural, educational, scientific policies in the European countries and the countries of the Black Sea region, Bulgarian Academy, Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge (Varna, 3-6 September 2019).

Dr. Andreea Esanu (part-time, ½ norm) researched and elaborated an article with the theme “Franz Brentano’s multifaceted view of induction in psychology” (15 p.), for the international volume of the project. She also published the article “Auguste Comte and J. S. Mill on physical causes. The case of Joseph Fourier’s analytical theory of heat” in: HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science (ISI) 

Dr. Bianca Savu studied on the subject of “Decline in Comte in the early writings” and started a translation for three fundamental studies pertaining to Comte’s early thinking: 1. Sommaire appréciation de l’ensemble du passé modern (43 p.); 2. Plan des travaux scientifiques nécessaires pour réorganiser la société (90 p, Comte’s most important writing, folowing M. Bourdeau), 3. Considérations philosophiques sur les sciences et les savants (40 p.). To the present, the second text has been translated; we expect the volume to be published by the Institutul European Publishing House. She is also developing the study on decline that was already published in the Annals of the University of Craiova. The Philosophy Series, “A sketch of the notion of decline in Auguste Comte. Common points with the corresponding Brentanian notion”, with the intent of covering the issues that were left aside by the studies contained in the international volume. Bianca Savu also translated into English the study authored by Ion Tănăsescu, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint as Contribution to Comte and Mill’s Positive Philosophy.

Dr. Alexandru Bejinariu investigated the topic “The concept of descriptive psychology in Brentano and its reception in the early work of Husserl,” translated into Romanian the first book of Brentano’s Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint (accepted for publishing at Humanitas Publishing House), and will complete the translation of the second book until the end of the year. He also translated from German the paper Tănăsescu I., “Die Hierarchie der Wissenschaften und die Heterogenität der Phänomene in Brentanos empirischer Psychologie” (“The hierarchy of sciences and the heterogeneity of phenomena in Brentano’s empirical psychology”, 19p, forthcoming). In September 2019 he participated with the talk Inducing Phenomenology. Husserl’s Early Phenomenology in the context of Brentano’s Psychognosie, at the CEESP international conference „Shifting Roles. The Manifold Identities of Phenomenology” (Bucharest, 26-28 September 2019: the 5th Conference on Traditions and Perspectives of the Phenomenological Movement in Central and Eastern Europe). He is also working on an extended version of the paper “Descriptive and Intentional Content. Considerations on Husserl’s Logical Investigations from Brentano’s Empirical Point of View”, in view of its publication in the volume Franz Brentano and the Positive Philosophy. Studies on the Positive Conception on Philosophy and Psychology.

PhD. Student Iulian Apostolescu investigated the topic “The Genesis of Husserlian Phenomenology”, and wrote the study “Husserl and Brentano: Openings and Ambiguities” („Husserl şi Brentano: Deschideri şi Echivocuri”, 9 pages), forthcoming in the journal Studii de istoria filosofiei universale, vol. XXVII, (BDI). Mr. Apostolescu has supported his colleagues in the work of editing the texts for the international volume by creating the indexes and the bibliography. He also has been instrumental in helping the research team with the relevant sources and texts required for the project.

2018

Between January 2018 and December 2018, the members of the project team investigated the topic “The concept of positive science in Comte and Mill and its influence on Brentano”.

The main goal of this project in 2018 was to analyse the Brentanian empirical psychology as a contribution to the 19th century positive philosophy as understood by Auguste Comte and J. St. Mill. In this respect, the activity of the project team members was focused on identifying and analysing the main aspects of the Brentanian empirical psychology which supports this idea: the problem of methodological monism in Comte, J. St. Mill, and Brentano, the concept of positive science in Comte, J. St. Mill, and Brentano, the problem of the method and the objectives of positive science in Comte, Mill, and Brentanian empirical psychology, the problem of the differences between Brentano’s empirical and descriptive psychology, the problem regarding the way in which Brentano’s psychology directly or indirectly influenced Husserlian phenomenology. Furthermore, this year an international conference was organized on the project’s topic and the research activity continued with the preparation of a collective volume Brentano – Comte – Mill: ideea filosofiei ca știință (Brentano – Comte – Mill: The Idea of Philosophy as Science).

In this framework, the research tasks were assigned as follows:

  1. Dr. Ion Tănăsescu, project manager, investigated the topic “Methodological Monism and Particularism in Brentano”, he edited the volume Brentano – Comte – Mill: The Idea of Philosophy as Science (223. p, forthcoming in 2018 in “Academica” Series, European Institute Publishing House, Iasi), wrote the studies “Monism and Particularism: Methodology in Brentano’s Psychology” (20 p.; in evaluation for Axiomathes (ISI)), “Franz Brentano and Anton Marty – Two Versions of Descriptive Psychology?”, (12. p. forthcoming in: M. Antonelli, Th. Binder (eds.), Franz Brentano’s Philosophy, Leiden/Boston, Brill, (coll. Studien zur Österreichischen Philosophie; the volume is also dedicated to the commemoration of 100 years since Brentano’s death), and wrote the introductive study “Franz Brentano și Auguste Comte: teoria stagiilor gândirii și concepția asupra psihologiei” (“Franz Brentano and Auguste Comte: the Theory of the Stages of Thought and the Concept of Pyschology”, in Brentano – Comte – Mill: ideea filosofiei ca știință (pp. 7-49)); this study is the revised and extended Romanian version with the chapter “Contribuția lui Brentano la filosofia pozitivă: Psihologia din punct de vedere empiric” (12 pp.) of the study “Die Phasentheorie: Franz Brentano und Auguste Comte” (in Brentanos frühe Publikationen (1862 – 1874, W. Baumgarnter & K. Hedwig (eds.), pp. 335-366). Ion Tănăsescu also participated with the presentation “Brentano’s Early Writings and His Contribution to Positive Philosophy” at the international conference of the project “Brentano – Comte – Mill. The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science” (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, 27th-28th of September 2018).
  2. Professor Ph.D. Constantin Stoenescu (1/2) investigated the topic “Inductive – Deductive and the Concept of Science in Mill’s Logic and its influence on Brentano’s Psychology”, wrote the study “Despre ideea invariabilității legilor naturale la Comte și Mill” (“On the idea of invariability of natural laws in Comte and Mill”), (27 p.; forthcoming in Analele Universității din Craiova, Seria filosofie (indexed Scopus, ERIH, Philosopher’s Index) and participated with the presentation “Was Brentano in Psychology from an Empirical Standpointa Silent Follower of Mill’s Phenomenalism?” at the international conference of the project “Brentano – Comte – Mill. The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science” (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, 27th-28th of September 27-28 2018)). He also presented the conference: “Phenomenalism and the Metapsysical question of the external world. The strange case of John St. Mill” at The 7th World Conference on Metaphysics, (Salamanca, Spain, 24th -27th of October 2018).
  3. Dr. Andreea Eşanu investigated the topic “Inductive – Deductive and the Concept of Science in Mill’s Logic and its influence on Brentano’s Psychology”, wrote the study “Auguste Comte and J. S. Mill on physical causes. The case of Joseph Fourier’s analytical theory of heat” (20 p.; in: HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science(ISI) in evaluation), and participated with the presentation “Franz Brentano’s Multifaceted View of Psychological Induction: from Bain and Mill’s Empiricist Induction to Statistical Inference and Intuitive Induction” at the international conference of the project “Brentano – Comte – Mill. The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science” (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, 27th-28th of September 27-28 2018)).
  4. Dr. Bianca Savu investigated the topic “The notion of decline in Cours de philosophie positive of Auguste Comte – The Theological and metaphysical stage)”, wrote the study: “Sketching of the Notion of Decline in Auguste Comte. A Comparative Analysis with the Brentano’s Own Notion from the Theory of the Four Phases”, translated into English the Romanian version of Ion Tanasescu’s paper “Die Phasentheorie: Franz Brentano und Auguste Comte” (in Brentanos frühe Publikationen (1862 – 1874, W. Baumgarnter & K. Hedwig (eds.), pp. 335-366) and participated with the presentation “Reinterpreting Comte through Brentano’s Notion of Decline. A Comparative Analysis” at the international conference of the project “Brentano – Comte – Mill. The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science” (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, 27th-28th of September 27-28 2018)). Bianca Savu also presented the conference “The Notion of Decline in Auguste Comte. A Discussion on the Lessons 52 -55thfrom Course de philosophie positive” (at 1st Alef Workshop in Analytic Philosophy’, Department of Philosophy, Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca 19th -20th of December 2018).
  5. Dr. Alexandru Bejinariu (1/2) investigated the topic “The Brentanian psychology and its reception in Husserl’s Logical Investigations”, translated into Romanian the fundamental text of Brentano on the four phases of philosophy: “Die vier Phasen der Philosphie”, Ion Tănăsescu’s paper “Die Phasentheorie: Franz Brentano und Auguste Comte” (in Brentanos frühe Publikationen (1862 – 1874, W. Baumgarnter & K. Hedwig (eds.), and participated with the presentation “Descriptive and Intentional Content. Considerations on Husserl’s Logical Investigationsfrom Brentano’s Empirical Point of View” in the international conference of the project “Brentano – Comte – Mill. The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science” (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, 27th-28th of September 27-28 2018).
  6. PhD Student Iulian Apostolescu continues to investigate the topic “Husserl’s Critique of Brentanian Psychology in the Appendix to the Logical Investigations and the Fifth Logical Investigation”, wrote the study “Critica husserliană a psihologiei lui Franz Brentano în anexa la Cercetările logice” (10 p. Forthcoming in Studii de istorie a filosofiei universale, vol. XXVI, (BDI)), and participated with the presentation “Husserl’s Critique of Brentanian Psychology in the Appendix to the Logical Investigations”, at the international conference of the project “Brentano – Comte – Mill. The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science” (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, 27th-28th of September 27-28 2018)). Iulian Apostolescu also presented the conference “Unity and Uniqueness of Consciousness in Brentano’s Psychology”, at the First Edition of the Conference of Philosophy and Humanities, 20th-21th of April 2018, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Two other results of the activity from this year were as follows:

  • Finalizing the publication process of the volume Brentano – Comte – Mill: ideea filosofiei ca știință. In this respect, the members of the project discussed the translations unconsidered in 2017 from J. St. Mill writing on Comte, Alexandru Bejinariu’s translations of Brentano’s writings included in the volume and the introductory study „Franz Brentano şi Auguste Comte. Teoria stagiilor gândirii şi concepţia asupra psihologiei” (Ion Tănăsescu). Furthermore, the process of copyediting and proofreading has been done.
  • The international conference of the project: Brentano – Comte – Mill. The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science was held at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, from 27th-28th of September 27-28 2018. The two-day event examined the main themes of the project, and revisited some aspects and topics of great importance for the project. The conference featured three invited keynote speakers: Michel Bourdeau (Comte), Christopher Macleod (St. Mill), and Denis Fisette (Brentano). With the exception of the members of the project, at the conference took part 11 international researchers from 10 countries––3 of them being the authors of some outstanding articles published in Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Brentano (W. Huemer), Comte (Michel Bourdeau) and St. Mill (Christopher Macleod).

The project team members had weekly meetings that were focused on discussing both unconsidered translations from 2017, which were to be included in the volume Brentano – Comte – Mill: ideea filosofiei ca știintă, and the chapters left undiscussed in 2017 from the first book of Brentano’s Psychology from empirical Standpoint. During the weekly meetings, the members of the project discussed the articles submitted for publication and the paper presentations for the International Conference of the project “Brentano – Comte – Mill. The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science”.

The results obtained until now within the project can be summarized as follows:

  • The volume Brentano – Comte – Mill: ideea filosofiei ca știință (223 p.; forthcoming in 2018 in “Academica” Series, European Institute Publishing House, Iasi; with an introductive study (Ion Tănăsescu), translations from Comte (Oana Vasilescu), J. St. Mill (Andreea Eșanu and Constantin Stoenescu) and Brentano (Alexandru Bejinariu)).
  • 2 ISI studies (Andreea Eșanu, Ion Tănăsescu).
  • 2 studies in international volumes dedicated to the centenary of Brentano’s death in 2017 (Ion Tănăsescu).
  • 4 BDI studies (Iulian Apostolescu, Bianca Savu, Constantin Stoenescu, Oana Vasilescu).
  • 8 participations at international conferences (Iulian Apostolescu, Alexandru Bejinariu, Andreea Eșanu, Bianca Savu, Constantin Stoenescu (2), Ion Tănăsescu (2)).
  • 3 participations at national conferences (Iulian Apostolescu, Bianca Savu, Constantin Stoenescu).

The organization of the international conference Brentano – Comte – Mill. The Idea of Philosophy and Psychology as Science (3 keynote speakers; 11 international researchers from 10 countries; some of the conference papers will be published in a collective volume with an international publishing house).

2017

Between July 2017 and December 2017, the members of the project team investigated the topic “Brentano – Come– Mill: the Theory of the Stages of Thought”.

In this respect, the research team focused on the study and translation of the three authors, and their translations will be published in the volume Brentano – Comte – Mill: the Idea of Philosophy as Science. Therefore, the research tasks were assigned as follows:

  1. Dr. Ion Tănăsescu, project manager, investigated the topic “The Relation between Brentano’s Theory of the four Phases of Philosophy and Comte’s Theory of the three Stages”, wrote the study “Die Phasentheorie: Franz Brentano und Auguste Comte”, forthcoming in Brentanos frühe Publikationen (1862 – 1874). Seine Quellen und die Entwicklung seiner philosophischen Positionen, Wilhelm Baumgarnter & Klaus Hedwig (eds.), J. H. Röll Verlag, Dettelbach, pp. 335-366, volume dedicated to the commemoration of 100 years since Brentano’s death, and participated with the lecture “Brentano’s vierte Habilitationsthese und die Idee der Psychologie als Wissenschaft” in the international conference “Die Philosophie Franz Brentanos” (University of Graz, 5th-7th of October 2017).
  2. Professor Ph.D. Constantin Stoenescu (1/2) investigated the topic “The Idea of Methodological Monism in XIXth Century Epistemology”, translated in collaboration with dr. Andreea Eşanu the first part from Mill’s work Auguste Comte and Positivism (1865), and participated with the lecture “On the Impact of Mill’s Logic on Maiorescu’s Logic” in the national conference “Titu Maiorescu in Contemporary Culture” (24th of November 2017, Faculty of Philosophy, The Center of Researches in the History of Philosophical Ideas, University of Bucharest).
  3. Dr. Andreea Eşanu investigated the topic “Mill as Critic of Comte”, and translated in collaboration with Constantin Stoenescu the first part from Mill’s work Auguste Comte and Positivism (1865).
  4. Dr. Oana Vasilescu investigated the topic “The Idea of Decline and Corruption of the Theoretical Interest in Auguste Comte’s Cours de philosophie positive”, translated the first two lessons from Auguste Comte’s Cours de philosophie positive, investigated the topic and began writing a study on the relation between Comte’s theory of the three stages and Brentano.
  5. Dr. Alexandru Bejinariu (1/2), team member since September 2017, translated two of Brentano’s significant pieces on Auguste Comte and the way in which Brentano understood the philosophy of his time.
  6. PhD. Student Iulian Apostolescu investigated the topic “Husserl’s Critique of Brentanian Psychology in the Appendix to the Logical Investigations and the Fifth Logical Investigation”.

The members of the project team had weekly meetings that were focused on discussing both their translations and some significant chapters from the first book of Brentano’s Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint.