Central and East European
Society for Phenomenology

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From psychology to phenomenology (and back again)

a controversy over the method in the school of Twardowski

Witold Płotka(Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw)

pp. 141-167


This paper seeks to define the main trends, arguments and problems regarding the question of method formulated by Twardowski and his students. In this regard, the aim of the paper is twofold. First, I situate Brentano's project of descriptive psychology within the context of disputes in the school of Twardowski concerning the method of both psychology and phenomenology, arguing that descriptive-psychological analysis was dominant in this respect. Second, the study explores the notion of eidetic phenomenology, as founded on a methodological procedure, which supposed to guarantee infallibility of its descriptions. To show this, I first reconstruct Brentano's concept of descriptive psychology, its object, its method and aims. Second, I track the changes and reinterpretations provided by Twardowski in his view of descriptive-psychological analysis. Third, I explore Witwicki's and Bandrowski's—both early students of Twardowski—discussions of the descriptive approach. I try to show that the former accepted psychologism, while the latter overcame it by means of logical analysis. Fourth, I suggest that the only student of Twardowski who renounced the Brentanian method was Ingarden, who developed eidetic phenomenology. Finally, I present Blaustein's—one of the last students of Twardowski—reappraisal of descriptive psychology and his critique of Ingarden's method. This controversy over the method of descriptive psychology reveals how one can situate Twardowski's legacy within early phenomenology in Poland.

Publication details

Published in:

(2020). Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (1).

Pages: 141-167

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-019-09620-x

Full citation:

Płotka Witold (2020). From psychology to phenomenology (and back again): a controversy over the method in the school of Twardowski. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (1), pp. 141-167.