Purposivism or hormic psychology.

DOI: 10.1037/10601-006


Just as existentialism sees in sensation the fundamental fact of psychology, as behaviorism sees it in bodily movement, and the Gestalt psychology in perception of patterns, so there is a psychology that takes its start from the fact of purpose. Human activity shows these various aspects, if not more besides, and it is not strange that one or another should excite the special interest of a psychologist and lead him to build a psychological system upon the particular phase of activity which strikes him as the most significant. The fact of human purpose cannot be disputed. Those psychologists who rule it out from psychology are themselves very purposeful individuals. Purpose, as we commonly use the term, implies two facts that do not always go together. It implies foresight of the outcome of a certain action, and it implies desire for that outcome. Purposivism means the primacy of striving or seeking, rather than the primacy of foresight. Sometimes the broader word, horme (hor-may, a Greek word meaning urge), is substituted for purpose, and purposivism rechristened the hormic psychology. The theories of William McDougall are discussed, along with the theories of L. L. Bernard. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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