Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Hugo Münsterberg. His Life and Work
Münsterberg, Margaret
Münsterberg gave in his introductory chapter, with em¬ 
phasis on the distinction from psychiatry, which is the 
treatment of mental diseases. Here also he has pointed 
out the odd position of psychotherapy in modern life which 
has made this young science, on the one hand, the apex 
of the realistic movement that subordinates all things, even 
mental life, to natural laws, and, on the other hand, a 
symptom of the rising idealistic movement that makes 
mind supreme over matter. It is the confusion between 
these two aspects that needs to be dispelled. 
After the introduction, the book is divided into three 
parts: ‘‘The Psychological Basis of Psychotherapy,’9 
“The Practical Work of Psychotherapy,’* and “The Place 
of Psychotherapy. ’9 
In the chapter on “The Aim of Psychology” the dis¬ 
tinction between the purposive and the causal view of the 
world, which cannot be reiterated too often, is given due 
emphasis. “Life is bigger than thought.” Only by 
recognizing the whole scientific causal system merely as 
a tool for the living purpose of explaining true relations, 
not as itself the beginning of truth, can the aim of psychol¬ 
ogy be understood. “Causal truth can be only the second 
word ; the first word remains to purposive truth.? ’ 
Psychology is a descriptive science as much as physics, 
and for the purpose of description the psychical phenom¬ 
ena must be reduced to elements, even as physical substances 
are reduced to atoms. Moreover the psychical experience 
is private property, that is, begins and ends with the in¬ 
dividual consciousness, and the only element to which it 
can be reduced is the individual sensation. 
In the following chapter on “Mind and Body” we come 
to the basis of modern psychological study: the psycho¬ 
physical parallelism. In order that any phenomenon may 
be explained scientifically, it must be a link in a causal 
chain. Mental phenomena cannot be explained at all, un- 


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