On This Day … 31 July [2022]

People (Deaths)

  • 1958 – Eino Kaila, Finnish philosopher and psychologist, attendant of the Vienna circle (b. 1890).

Eino Kaila

Eino Sakari Kaila (09 August 1890 to 31 July 1958) was a Finnish philosopher, critic and teacher. He worked in numerous fields including psychology (sometimes considered to be the founder of Finnish psychology), physics and theatre, and attempted to find unifying principles behind various branches of human and natural sciences.

In the 1920s he worked in the field of literary criticism and psychology as a professor at the University of Turku and is said to have been the first to introduce gestalt psychology to Finland.

Despite being greatly influenced by the logical positivists and critical of unempirical speculation, an aspect common to all of Kaila’s work was in strive for a holistic, almost pantheistic understanding of things. He also maintained a more naturalist approach to psychology. His book Persoonallisuus (1934, Personality) was a psychological study with philosophical dimensions, in which emphasized the biological nature of psychological phenomena. During the last years of his life he attempted to construct a theory of everything in Terminalkausalität Als Die Grundlage Eines Unitarischen Naturbegriffs, but this, what was meant to be the first installment in a more extensive study, was not met with much enthusiasm outside of Finland.

Though he withdrew his support of the National Socialists before the end of the Second World War, he wrote about the differences between “western” and “eastern” thought and claimed that the homogeneity of the people was a necessity for a functioning democracy.

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