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Zeitgeist

n. German, “spirit of the times”: a term used by German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) to refer to a type of supraindividual mind at work in the world and manifest in the cultural worldview (see Weltanschauung) that pervades the ideas, attitudes, and feelings of a particular society in a specific historical period. Used in this way, the term has a distinctly deterministic flavor. A Zeitgeist theory of history stresses the role of such situational factors as economics, technology, and social influences in contrast to the great man theory of history. The term was first used in English by British poet and literary critic Matthew Arnold (1822–1888) and introduced to psychology in 1929 by Edwin G. Boring, who used the concept as an organizing theme for his discussions of creativity, scientific change, and historiography. See also Ortgeist.

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Psychology term of the day

June 17th 2024

method of residues

method of residues

the fourth of the five canons of empirical science laid down by John Stuart Mill. It is meant to establish sufficient conditions for a phenomenon through the elimination of alternative potential causes on the basis of previous experiments or already known laws. For example, if the phenomena E1 and E2 occur together having antecedents C1 and C2, and if it is known by prior research or established law that C1 cannot cause E2 but causes E1, one may conclude that C2 is the cause of E2. Also called residue method.