BALDWIN James Mark—philosopher and psychologist, b. 1861 in Columbia (S. Carolina), d. 1934 in Paris.
James Baldwin earned his doctorate in philosophy at Princeton University. He was a professor at Hopkins University in Baltimore. He was connected with the University of Toronto. Everywhere there he established research centers for the development of experimental psychology. He spent much of his life in Europe—in England, France, and Germany (Leipzig), where he became familiar with the works of the psychological laboratory focussed around the school of W. Wundt, called the new psychology.
Baldwin’s chief works are: Handbook of Psychology (Hl-Ny 18897–1892); Mental Development in the Child and the Race (NY-Lo 1896, 19683); Social and Ethical Interpetations in Mental Development (NY-Lo 1897; Życe społeczne i moralne [Social and moral life], Wwa 1906); The Story of the Mind (NY 1898); Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology (I–III, NY 1901–1905); Thought and Things or Genetic Logic (I–III, NY 1906–1911); History of Psychology (I–II, NY-Lo 1913). He was quite notable for his organizational work in starting new periodicals: in 1894—Psychological Review, Psychological Index, Psychological Monographs, and in 1904—Psychological Bulletin.
Baldwin’s psychological reflections were focussed on the philosophical tradition of evolutionism (he modified C. Darwin’s views, for example, by introducing the conception of so-called organic selection). He was interested here especially in the phases of man’s psychological development, and also in the process of the socialization of the person or “self” by the stages of the individual’s differentiation among other persons, a process that occurs gradually (in orderly fashion). He was close to the spirit of empirical psychology.
In philosophy Baldwin is known as the author of pancalism (a variety of aestheticism). Pancalism is a doctrine in the philosophy of art that teach that beauty is the fundamental norm of what can be aesthetically constructed (or produced). He favored the so-called aesthetic theory of reality, that all norms are subordinate to the leading norm, which is beauty. In epistemology and methodology he thought that the genetic method must be applied. He regarded this method as the most proper for the humanistic sciences (as distinct from the particular or special sciences, which represent a type of the mechanical sciences). The humanistic sciences, like culture itself, which is the whole of man’s products, must be in constant contact with reality (with life itself and with man’s spirituality).
C. A. Ellwood, The Social Philosophy of James Mark Baldwin, Journal of Social Philosophy 2 (1936), 55–58; V. D. Sewny, The Social Theory of J. M. Baldwin, NY 1945.