Scientific article
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Raccourci analogique et reconstruction microhistorique

ContributorsRatcliff, Marc
Published inRevue d'histoire des sciences humaines, no. 29, p. 249-272
Publication date2016-10-12

According to the standard historiography of psychology, the founding of the experimental psychology laboratory in Geneva in 1892 was the result of Wundt's direct influence on Theodore Flournoy (1854-1920). Flournoy did indeed spend an academic year in Leipzig. However, unknown archival sources suggest a more complex origin story: it was only after Flournoy's visit to Münsterberg in October 1891 that Flournoy was equipped with the necessary knowledge, network, and material culture. The Geneva laboratory was founded four months later. Two important consequences follow from this observation, one historical and the other epistemological: 1. the founding of the Geneva laboratory can only be traced back to an indirect inheritance from Wundt; 2. discussions of the genealogy of the Geneva laboratory are influenced by a confusion of resemblance and descent, and are thus blind to important differences. We then propose a term for this blindness: "analogical shortcut".

  • Microhistory of sciences
  • History of psychology
  • Analogical shortcut
  • Tacit knowledge
  • System of sources
  • Theodore Flournoy
  • History of psychological laboratories
  • Wilhelm Wundt
  • Hugo Munsterberg
Citation (ISO format)
RATCLIFF, Marc. Raccourci analogique et reconstruction microhistorique. In: Revue d’histoire des sciences humaines, 2016, n° 29, p. 249–272. doi: 10.4000/rhsh.649
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1622-468X

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