It is not surprising that you mistook me for one of those who, in the pride of modern science, have only ridicule, or, at best, indifference, for every thought of a beyond. All about us, indeed, we see the men with a scientific view of the world and the men with a religious view of the world in two sharply separated camps... It seems as if science and religion could no longer be harmonized. And yet, my friend, I feel that they belong together...
-from The Eternal Life
As a psychologist and an innovator of experimental psychology, Hugo Münsterberg was a powerful influence on thinking in both the medical and social arenas at the turn of the 20th century, developing practical applications of psychology to industry, medicine, education, the arts, and criminal investigation.
Here, though, in this surprising work, Münsterberg addresses a conundrum that continues to vex American culture today: the war between faith and reason.
Framed as a chat with a friend after the death of a colleague, this 1905 lecture explores the boundaries of knowledge that constrain both science and religion, and the significance and insight that can be drawn from both. Not merely a sophisticated consideration of one of the most troublesome philosophical matters of our time, this is also an intriguing glimpse into the mind of a man whose work continues to impact today's understanding of the mind and how it shapes human behavior.
Also available from Cosimo Classics: Münsterberg's Psychology and Social Sanity, The War and America, American Traits, and Psychotherapy
OF INTEREST TO: readers of popular psychology, students of the culture wars, seekers after wisdom
German-American psychologist and philosopher HUGO MÜNSTERBERG (1863-1916) was professor of psychology at Harvard University from 1892 until his death. He was elected president of the American Psychological Association in 1898.