ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (4): 431-540.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00431

• 理论与史 • 上一篇    


陈巍1, 王勇1, 郭本禹2()   

  1. 1绍兴文理学院心理学系; 大脑、心智与教育研究中心, 浙江 绍兴 312000
    2南京师范大学心理学院, 南京 210097
  • 收稿日期:2020-08-31 出版日期:2021-04-25 发布日期:2021-04-07
  • 通讯作者: 郭本禹
  • 基金资助:

Unfinished instinct: Zing-yang Kuo and the anti-instinct movement in China

CHEN Wei1, WANG Yong1, GUO Benyu2()   

  1. 1Department of Psychology; Center for Brain, Mind and Education, Shaoxing University, Zhejiang, Shaoxing 312000, China
    2School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Jiangsu, Nanjing 210097, China
  • Received:2020-08-31 Online:2021-04-25 Published:2021-04-07
  • Contact: GUO Benyu


受到达尔文生物进化论的深刻影响, “本能”这一概念在19世纪末至20世纪初逐渐成为人类和动物心理学的核心议题。年轻的中国发展心理生物学家郭任远在美国心理学界掀起了一场声势浩大的反本能运动。返回中国后, 他持续阐发其激进行为主义思想, 推动了“中国现代心理学史上三场争论之一”的本能论战。这场争论不仅促使艾伟、潘菽、高觉敷等心理学家纷纷参与, 还吸引了周建人、李石岑等公共知识分子的目光。郭任远的理论主张与实验工作, 桥接起了本能争论的中国与世界战场, 并激荡起诸多积极、消极与混合反应。论战加速了本能的心理学研究在方法论上从“扶手椅”迈向“实验室”, 也深陷混淆发育解释与进化解释的历史圈套。虽然郭任远及其推动的中国本能论战并没有实现对本能心理学的“完结”, 但却揭示出语义和信仰在科学研究中的认识论价值。这种理论渗透的意识形态最终确立起郭氏在行为科学史上独特的学术地位, 并为本能演变成“未完结”的、开放的科学问题提供动力。

关键词: 郭任远, 本能, 反本能运动, 行为主义, 遗传


Under the influence of Darwin’s theory of biological evolution, instinct gradually became a core issue in the fields of human and animal psychology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, soon to be relegated to the realm of “magic.” At the height of its popularity, theorists interpreted almost all human behavior in relation to instinct. A young Chinese developmental psychobiologist, Zing-yang Kuo, adopted John B. Watson’s approach to behaviorism, strongly advocating for the complete removal of instinct from the interpretation of human and animal behaviors - an approach that started a massive anti-instinct movement in the field of psychology in the United States. After returning to China, Kuo continued to spread his knowledge of radical behaviorism among the intellectual elite, promoting the debate on instinct, “one of the three biggest debates in the history of modern Chinese psychology.”
Kuo’s suggestion that the origin of behavioral development could be traced in a laboratory setting was scorned by conservative US researchers. Convinced that he could resolve the controversy surrounding instinct in the laboratory, and following critical reflection on the matter, Kuo performed a range of experiments in China to verify his anti-instinct claims. Ultimately viewed as the most important development in the Chinese anti-instinct movement, Kuo’s work bridged the gaps in global debates on instinct. Psychologists such as Wei Joseph Ai, Shuh Pan, and Juefu Gao all joined the movement, and it also attracted the interests of other public intellectuals, including Jianren Zhou and Shicen Li.
Centered on topics such as the existence of instinct, its definition, whether instincts are inherited, and the relationship between instincts, heredity, and environment, the heated discussion in China’s intellectual community surfaced positive, negative, and mixed reactions. While the Chinese anti-instinct movement did not develop extensive theories, there is no doubt that, as a natural extension of the international anti-instinct movement, it responded to the main contentions of the debate. While the Chinese movement expedited the methodological transmission of the psychological study of instinct from armchair to laboratory, it also confused the interpretation of development with that of evolution.
While Kuo and the anti-instinct movement failed to “complete” their study of the psychology of instinct, their work revealed the epistemological value of semantics and the scientific method. Moreover, as a bridge between the global and Chinese anti-instinct movements, Kuo’s academic thought and scientific work reflect his uncompromising spirit of individualism and skepticism, which finally secured him a unique position in the history of behavioral science, exposed him to the wider fields of ethology, embryology, and development science, and provided the impetus for the positioning of “instinct” as an “unfinished” and open scientific issue.

Key words: Zing-yang Kuo, instinct, anti-instinct movement, behaviorism, heredity