To define psychology, Brentano has offered two approaches which he tried to use as the explanation to the nature of psychology. Thus, Brentano defines psychology as the science of the soul and as the science of the mental phenomena. Still, his practical vision of psychology and the reference to natural science helps him reject the idea of belonging psychology to soul.
The traditional vision of psychology as the science of soul has been rejected by the psychologist who states that if one says that “psychology is the science of soul and means buy ‘soul’ the substantial bearer of mental states, then he is expressing his conviction that mental events are to be considered properties of a substance” (Brentano 10).
But how can we know that such substances exist? The reference of the author to this idea makes it clear that psychology cannot be defined as a science of soul. But, being assured about the intentional inexistence of an object where a belief of desire is directed at, Brentano concludes that psychology should be defined as mental phenomena (Brentano 18).
Brentano offers to investigate the subject matter of the psychology as the “immense number of different series bound up together” (Brentano 94). Considering this idea from the point of view of mental activities, it seems that psychologist tries to prove that the subject matter of psychology cannot be considered as a collection of separate units, but only in the range of specific series of actions. Brentano is sure that being a defined as mental phenomena, psychology cannot act with the help of one event.
Looking as such related processes as digestion, excretion, etc., these body processes cannot be based on one specific process, it is a series of processes. The same is about psychology. It is impossible to consider it as one separate action, looking at it as mental phenomena, series should be explored as a bound of indivisible acts.
One of the main features which make psychology the central science for investigating within the society is the fact that it explores the laws which follow the succession of the human mental states, in other words, “the laws according to which one of these states produces another” (Brentano 12).
Furthermore, the author of the book states that psychology is the basis for education, aesthetics, logics, ethics, politics, and even for the human progress in life (Brentano 21). It is considered to be the science of the future as it is the only source which may instruct scientist about immortality (Brentano 25). Thus, the interest in psychology is going to remain and the more people will get to know about this phenomenon, the more questions they will have for consideration.
One of the problems in the development of psychology defined by Brentano is the absence of the “storage of the important tasks for psychologists” (Brentano 14). This may become an obstacle as without being directed at the specific goal, the development of the science may be concentrated around some insignificant problems.
Having stated above that the immortality may become the source for investigation in the future, Brentano points to it as to obstacle as having rejected soul as a definition of psychology and having declared about its absence, immortality is out of the question (Brentano 15). At the same time, Brentano does not point to such obstacle in the psychology development as the absence of the similar and complex approach to this problem and a look at this science from different angles.
Brentano, Franz. Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. New York: Humanities Press, 1973. Print.