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Chapter 2: Philosophical Influences on Psychology

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  1. Chapter 2: Philosophical Influences on Psychology The Defecating Duck

  2. 17th to 19th century • Automata • Industrial machinery • Clocks

  3. René Descartes (1596-1650) • Reflex action theory • Human behavior is predictable if inputs are known

  4. René Descartes • Diverted attention from the soul to the scientific study of mind. • Shifted the methods of intellectuals: • metaphysical analysis  objective observation and experimentation

  5. René Descartes • The mind-body problem • Pre-Descartes • mind influences body, but not vice versa; the puppeteer and puppet • Descartes: a mutual interaction • Mind and body both influence each other • Pineal gland • The site of the mind-body interaction

  6. René Decartes • Support of Christian thought • Animals do not possess souls, feelings, immortality, thought processes, or free will • Animal behavior: explained totally in mechanistic terms

  7. Zeitgeist of 17th to 19th century • Mechanism: • the universe viewed as an enormous machine • Matter made up of small parts (atoms), that interacted in a predictable manner (i.e., they were mechanical ) • Therefore, natural processes can be measured and explained logically

  8. If it is possible to measure every aspect of the natural universe and • If scientists could grasp the laws by which the world functioned, • They would be able to determine its future course

  9. Zeitgeist of 17th to 19th century • Reductionism: • We can reduce a clock to its components, such as springs and wheels, to understand its functioning • Implies that analyzing or reducing the universe to its simplest parts will produce understanding of it • Characteristic of every science

  10. Zeitgeist of 17th to 19th century • Determinism: • every act is caused by past event(s) • no free will • As with a clock, the universe… • has parts that function with order and regularity • once clock is set in motion, events will continue in a predictable manner without outside influence

  11. The calculating engine • Created by Charles Babbage (19th c.) • Machine did basic math, had memory, played games • First successful attempt to duplicate human cognitive processes 2 + 4 = 6 5 - 2 = 3

  12. Zeitgeist of 17th to 19th century • Empiricism: • the pursuit of knowledge through observation

  13. Review of Zeitgeist • Mechanism • Reductionism • Determinism • Empiricism

  14. René Descartes • The doctrine of ideas • Derived ideas • Products of the experiences of the senses • Innate ideas • Develop from within the mind rather than through the senses

  15. John Locke (1632-1704) • An essay concerning human understanding (1690) • “Marks the formal beginning of British empiricism”

  16. Locke (continued) • How does the mind acquire knowledge? • Rejected existence of innate ideas • Any apparent innateness due to early learning and habit • All knowledge is empirically derived: • mind as a tabula rasaor blank slate

  17. Locke (continued) • Two kinds of experiences • Sensations: input from external physical objects experienced as sense impressions, which operate on the mind • Reflections: mind operates on the sense impressions to produce ideas • Sensations always precede reflections

  18. Locke’s Theory of association • Simple ideas (atoms of the mental world) • Complex ideas • Association = learning • Linking of simple ideas/elements into complex ones

  19. James Mill • Believed in only derived (experiential) ideas

  20. John Stuart Mill • Believed in both innate and derived ideas • Creative synthesis