German philosopher, psychologist, and educator. Herbart was among the first, early in the nineteenth century, to propose a mathematical psychology. Coming after Immanuel Kant's claim (in his Metaphysische Angangsgriinde der Naturwissenschaft [Metaphysical Foundation of Natural Science], Riga, 1786) that there could be no such discipline, this was a bold proposal. which kept alive the eighteenth-century quest for a science of psychology. Even though Herbart himself denied the possibility of an experimental psychology, and despite the fact that his own psychology (as a branch of applied metaphysics) was largely conjectural, his example inspired subsequent scholars to work toward a quantitative, experimental discipline of psychology.
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Leary, David E. "Johann Friedrich Herbart." In Encyclopedia of Pscyhology, edited by Alan E. Kazdin, 116-117. Vol. 4. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2000.