Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 84.djvu/43

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39
PSYCHOLOGY

PSYCHOLOGY: SCIENCE OR TECHNOLOGY?
By E. B. TITCHENER

PSYCHOLOGY has, of recent years, been exhorted to be practical, praised for its willingness to be practical, blamed for its unwillingness to be practical. "A kind of psychology which is needed is that of every-day people." "Psychology is ceasing to be a purely academic science and is now willing to study questions dealing with every-day life." "Psychology as it is being taught and investigated deals with matters of no concern, or of too abstract a nature, for practise." "The normal psychologist has been forced out of his academic reserve." A psychology is needed "which is aimed at practical ends," "a psychology which works and lives rather than a psychology easy to teach or easy to write," a psychology of a "matter-of-fact type," which adopts "the common-sense attitude," a psychology whose problems "really go at the causal relationships vital to the student, vital to any layman who wants to know what psychology is and does, vital to the physician,"—in a word, a truly "dynamic" psychology. The demand, as these few quotations show, far exceeds the supply; exhortation and blame are more strongly in evidence than encouragement and praise.

If, now, such amenities meant simply that there is a family quarrel among psychologists, or if the attack upon theory and the call to practise were confined to psychology alone, then discussion and reply would find their proper place in some technically psychological journal. It seems, however, to a lay reader of scientific magazines, that the stir in and about psychology is typical of what is just now going on in many other fields of scientific work, and that the issue between theory and practise has been raised in many quarters. That would, of itself, be good ground for appeal to a general scientific audience; but the present writer has a second reason for bringing discussion into the open. He believes that, so far as the matter may be argued, so far (that is to say) as we leave out of account temperamental differences and idiosyncrasies which are beyond the reach of argument, hostilities are in the main kept up through the neglect of a very elementary distinction, the distinction of Science and Technology; and he believes that, if that distinction is regarded, there may be an end of railing accusation and a new birth of what theory and practise both alike require—serious and well-weighed criticism. It is true that the mere expression of this belief may defeat his purpose: the practically-minded reader may refuse to read further;