PSYA01H3- Psychology 9/15/2012 8:13:00 PM
There’s No Soul In Psychology
Psychology is a very progressive science, very young (as we go through chapter one).
There’s still a whole lot to know.
Physics and chemistry are very old, and have things in place.
How young is psychology?
Up to 1600’s a lot of sciences were getting in the way, primal period for sciences, a lot of
physics of science were going on. 1660’s-1850. A lot of sciences began their empirical
End of 1850-1895 right around here that psychology began to exist in its first form.
Why is psychology so young? Answer goes back to the title “All about Soul”
For many years, humans thought of themselves as spirits in material world. Things of God,
things of a spiritual world or embodiment of Christ. “Angels in a physical world” everything
else follows laws of nature, but we have a soul, spirit—something different.
There are no degrees of freedom that the potato story, does.
Souls are spiritual entities. Does not have to conform to physical laws.
“God works in mysterious ways”
Cannot imply God to science.
Science is not anti-religion, finds religious ideas useless from a scientific perspective.
If were are spiritual ntities, and is governed by spiritual forces and not natural laws, then
are behavior is not subject to scientific investigation.
Humans are different and therefore, we did not study ourselves. Never turned the scientific
process on ourselves.
What changed that?
Magic, Falling Rocks, Volcano Bound Virgins…and a concept called animism
Back in the day, 1000 years, we were very generous with souls.
Rock, stays with earth cause falls. Air goes into air. Enjoys air.
Animism- suggesting something has a soul
Thunderstorms have a soul, or at least a soul behind them.
Magic- if you seen an illusionist do a trick, and understand what they are doing its no longer
If a computer can do what a human do, is the machine intelligent? Or is the human not?
And what about soul?
William James important person—relatively true of rene de carte. Both of them, prove they
were extremely intelligent, had hard time as young people in finding where they fit in. Rene
de carte suffered from a lot of psychological issues and nervous breakdowns. About our uni
age, doctor suggested that he spend some time in Paris, wondering around and enjoying artwork and getting away from the grind. Walking around at palace of Versailles, statue
But in his day statues didn’t move, they stayed in place. But these statues moved, was
mind-blowing to him. How did it work? He learned about this new field called hydraulics.
Stepped on pressure plate of a fine channel of water. Statue was on friction of set of rails,
that strength or his weight was enough to cause the statue to move. Hydraulics, movement
that seemed human and intentional to him. Neptune was intentionally blocking his path to
Diana. Thought wow?
Came up with strong debates of the world. Lived in Christian world where church was great
political and social force. Big trouble if you crossed the church. Believed or liked the notion
that humans have souls.
He said animals have no soul, they are machines. They look complicating, look like they are
behaving with intention, but it is all an illusion. No soul within any animal, according to Rene
This got extreme, as a result of Rene de Carte, people began performing a lot of research on
animals. People would nail animals to board, and cut them to test them without numbing
them. He said cut their vocal cords because they will scream.
Rene de carte thought they don’t feel a thing, but they act like they do. Animals as machine.
Humans, people said he felt the same, but couldn’t because of church, but that’s not as
Rene thought, said we, humans, are partly machine. Our bodies are ultimately controlled by
Body driven by a soul, part spiritual and part material.
Rene De Carte’s ideas, opened the biological side of human investigation.
John Locke- said he even thinks the human mind is a machine. I don’t think we don’t have
to stop by just the body, but whole human body and mind is materialistic. We are material
beings, in a material world.
He was the guy of the notion of born knowing nothing. Extreme nature side, of nature vs.
You became the person you are now, because of the experiences you went through.
He was also the one that said all you philosophers, why just because you think these things,
why does it make them true?
Shouldn’t we have more reasons and a method to test whose ideas are good and bad ones.
We need to test the idea by doing experiments and making prediction of what happens in
the real world.
Empiricism James Mill- first one that actually used this term of “materialism” notion that we do not
have a soul. Everything in the universe is made up of basic materials that follow physical
laws. Extreme anti-spirituality view. Religion something we created, and makes us feel
good, but not true. We are all material beings living in a material world.
Why should we believe in any of this? And think its true
Luigi Galvani, day when most scientists did science as a hobby, on the side. Occasionally
would get together and try to impress each other with things they found.
People were getting excited about electricity in this time.
Body seems to be machine-like, driven by electrical currents, cause of how they move.
Seemed worth of belief.
Johannes Muller- cut up bodies. Nerve fibers, deliver electrical signal. Seem like wires we
think about it, in the sense that the wires seem like basic conductive wiring.
Not the kind of wiring, but where it began and ended. What makes a wire special is where
you plug it in the output and input.
Its about where the wires start and end. Suggest that where they start and end a modular
system. Various beginning places for wires seem to have a specific job. Doing different
things. Maybe brains were modular like machines, with everything doing a specific task. Fit
well with philosipcal beliefs.
Pierre Florens: Moving parts of animal parts. He would remove their brain and put it back.
Depending on what part you remove, they would lose a certain ability, that’s what he
Specific brain areas did specific things, suggesting brain is machine-like.
Paul Broca- medical doctor. Clever enough to realize that he would run into patients that
would show same behavior. Speak to them and ask them to do complex things.
They could understand meaning, but couldn’t produce meaning. Paul made them sign forms
to crack open their brain and examine it when they die. Waited for them to die, and so he
removed their brains and found that a part of their brains, left side over the ear had
damage, Brocazeria.. That part of the brain is machine-like.
Humans seem to be material beings, partially. If this is true we can start to apply a scientific
method to them.
18 century studying the world and not ourselves. What started psychology …?
Psychology- The Birth and Early Years 9/15/2012 8:13:00 PM
We’ve come to a place where humanities were okay with being part machine and part
Interesting to understand the roles that others play. A lot of Germans had such a stronge
influence in psychology. Mid-Late 1800’s, before WW1 And WW2, prominent because they
were a super power at the time.
In Germany, government had a lot of money. They thought science and understanding of
knowledge gave the country a strong advantage. It was also building its academia, sciences
while also building its militia.
If they want to try something new they get support from the government.
Psychology was weirdly different, wouldn’t have been born, but Germany took the risk.
Hermann Von Helmholtz- Measuring speed of neutral impulses
How fast do signals travel along the nerve tissue? Something he would ask
A lot of people before his demonstration would say its hard to measure, but he said not
really if you think about it in a clever way. He would say lets find average human and figure
out how long nerve tissue is form one hand to spine to brain, to other hand.
Something are hard to measure, but if your clever you can
Ernst Weber- psychophysics (1795-1878)
In Weber’s mind he wanted to take notion of physics and apply it to internal mind
Important to start getting people to think of what’s going on in our minds
Wilhelm Wundt was the firt to refer to himself as a psychologist
He wrote the first psychology textbook “The Principles of Physiological Psychology”
Loved introspection founded what is termed the structuralist approach…not generally
Physiological trying to understand nerve tissues and what it tells us of the mind
About 1898 as birth of psychology
Structuralism- early psychologist following Weber trying to understand our internal mental
worlds, our conscious experiences what Wundt did was teach students how to look within
their minds. Introspect- look within their mind
A lot of people were worried about psychology being a science
In physics you can objectively measure things
With introspection you cannot directly observe or measure the thing you are interested in,
relying on subject, somebody else, to do it for you and tell you what they see
That means trust subject, but don’t know if they do trust subject
We don’t really see in our mind, is it vision?
Leaving it to subject to define what you mean and put it into verbal words
A lot of scientists felt it didn’t feel scientific Darwin (1809-1882)-
Structuralism largely gave way to functionalism…a focus on the purpose of mental world,
not what it “looks” like
Came up with notion of evolution, he was Christian and family was.his theory conflicted
with dominant religious views
He didn’t realize his finding of a long time, until he found out someone else was about
release the same theory
Structuralism, taking animals and then categorizing them,,,extent of biology. Figuring out
where animals fit
Darwin did to biology was not to talk about what animal looks like. Look at why it looks like
it does, look further…they look like they do because something allows them to live as they
do and behave in such ways
Survival of the fetus
General notion impacted psychology—do we care about what our psychology does for us?
What are the functions of the various psychological processes?
William James (1842-1910)
Evolution is not a theory of creation—vs. creationism
Creationism assumes you have an internal being who is able to create something out of
Evolution is a theory of how once matter exist, how matter changed overtime
Sigmund Freud- (1856-1939)
Trained as a medical doctor, not as a scientist
Popularized the notion of psychological disease, and linked them mostly to psychological
conflict… The medical model
Invented psychoanalysis, promoted cocaine, spoke a lot about sexual and aggressive urges,
popularized his notion psychology, and drove (and still does) drive scientists nuts!
When Freud hit the scene, psychology became two things related to two points, but coming
at it in different ways
Came across patients that would exhibit bizarre symptoms, but when you did neurological
follow up, they acted blind, but no physical reason for them to be blind
Conflict was the cause
Related to two drives, sex and aggression
People were learning psychology through Freud
Set science of psychology in a tailspin
Friction point Freud left it with
Science and Therapy: Psychologies Recent Past 9/15/2012 8:13:00 PM
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): very much widened what psychology was about.
Before, It was trying to do physics, but turning it inwards
Or attempt to understand the mind
All Freud suggested can not be scientifically tested, did not make clear prediction that you
can test in a lab
A scientist want to see empirical data
Science and religion are not competitors. Religion is more like Freud, bunch of ideas theory
that describes a way of living, but nothing in an religious text lends itself to scientific test or
investigation, that’s what a lot scientist felt about Freud
Gestalt Psychology: trying to understand the laws underlying our amazing ability to acquire
and maintain stable percepts in a noisy world
Also “humanistic psychology” was born largely as a direct counter-response to
Freud’s…focusing on the positive aspects of humanity.
The North American Reaction
Behaviorism…shunned all discussion of any psychological concept that could not be directly
and objectively measured and/or manipulated
Consciousness: attention, memory, perception, pretty much everything
Psychology became the study of the association between stimuli (any object or situation)
and responses (how an organism behaved)
Skinner died relatively depressed guy, believed we are very material and that consciousness
played no role
Behaviourism didn’t stay in power Finding Answers Begins by Finding Questions 9/15/2012 8:13:00 PM
Theories and Hypothesis:
Usually the scientific process begins with a theory…somebody’s explanation meant to
explain things they have seen
“Good” theories lead to hypothesis…predictions that cam be empirically tested in a way
that might prove them to be in incorrect (i.e., falsifiable!)
Freud’s theories of human behaviour, and religious theories of existence, are often
criticized for being un-falsifiable and, therefore, impossible to test.
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