A. Rábano Gutiérrez Neurosciences and History 2023;11(1):22-32
Type of article: REVIEW
A. Rábano Gutiérrez Centro Alzheimer Fundación Reina Sofía – Fundación CIEN, Madrid, Spain.
Between the classical era and the 21st century, the beginning and the end of the path we plotted in the first article of this series, we shall now focus our attention on our most significant immediate precursors. Approximately a hundred years ago, in the first decades of the 20th century, several controversial debates took place between the scientists and philosophers of the day that continue to resonate in some arguments today. The controversies about biologism (Biologismus-Streit) and psychologism (Psychologismus-Streit) are characteristic of the relationship between the emerging experimental sciences (biology and psychology) and the philosophical traditions inherited from the 19th century (neo-Kantianism, neo-Hegelianism, positivism, various forms of materialism, pragmatism) and newer philosophical movements, such as phenomenology. In the field of biology, the question of vitalism (Vitalismus-Streit) became a focal point for the scientific/philosophical debates of the day. Lebensphilosophie (philosophy of life), a heterogeneous philosophical movement characteristic of these decades, took a central role in these debates. This article presents an overview of the thought and works of Max Scheler, Wilhelm Dilthey, and Henri Bergson, key figures in the Lebensphilosophie movement, in the context of the neuroscientific understanding of the day. The question of memory is an important element in the thought of all three. We analyse in greater detail the debate between Dilthey and Ebbinghaus, paradigmatic of the scientific-philosophical controversy that involved both the object and the methodology of study in the ambit of natural (Naturwissenschaften) and human sciences (Geisteswissenschaften).