Cultural psychology is in need for a general theory that includes coverage of both the real actual and the possible realms of psychological phenomena, and of the relationship between the two. The tradition of Gegenstandstheorie developed in Graz in the beginning of the 20th century by Alexius Meinong has direct relevance for theory construction and methodological advancement in this direction. The contrast of existing subsisting and non-existing objects makes it possible to address issues of the study of cultural complexities. The unity of higher and lower order objects in the human psyche makes Meinong’s thinking compatible with the needs of our contemporary cultural psychology in its various versions. The limits of Meinong’s theory—the ontological primacy of objects and his focus on their classification—can be overcome by introduction of an explicitly developmental focus that his contemporary James Mark Baldwin attempted to formulate in his “genetic logic.” Implications of both of these traditions for our contemporary cultural psychologies are outlined, with a focus on the study of patriotism and art.
Culture and Psychology, 2014, Vol 20, Issue 3, p. 285-307
Alexius Meinong; complexity; higher order objects; imagination; James Mark Baldwin; Reality and non-reality; the Graz School of psychology