What Social Objects Must Psychology Presuppose?

Current psychological practice is responsible for the use of the term 'consciousness' as if it were a 'soul.' This use arises out of the parallelistic treatment of the subject-matter of psychology. Corresponding to the central nervous system, or its states, there is presupposed an island of consciousness whose states parallel the neuroses. This use of consciousness makes a consistent philosophy of nature impossible. The phase of the situation to which the paper directed especial attention, was the view of the self as a growth within this field of consciousness, which is assumed to be open directly only to introspection and to be a presupposition of the consciousness of other selves. An analysis of the self-consciousness open to introspection undertook to make evident, on the contrary, that the whole development of the consciousness of meaning through gesture and its derivative language presupposes selves as preŽxistent, logically, to

(53) the self of introspection. Selves are social objects which psychology must presuppose as definitely as it presupposes the physiological objects--the physical organism and its nervous system. Ultimately psychology will accept the definition of this object from the social sciences as it accepts the definition of the physiological object from the biological sciences. These sciences will state the social conditions under which self-consciousness is possible as physiological science states the physical conditions under which consciousness is possible.


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