September 12, 2012
Psychology A01: Lecture 1.1: There’s no soul in Psychology
• Extremely young science –progress is slower because of its
• At the end of 1895, psychology began
• Why is it so young? – It’s all about the soul.
• To pursue something scientifically one must first assume that the
behaviour of that thing conforms to some sort of natural laws,
laws that can eventually be understood, specified, and used to
predict future behaviour.
• “Souls” are spiritual entities and they DO NOT conform to natural
laws. Trying to understand them via a scientific process is
• Other physical objects follow the laws, they are predictable in
• Science finds religion is useless; because it is not open to scientific
investigation- we are not open to scientific investigation.
• What changed that, why did we start scientifically investigating
Back in the day, we strongly believed in souls. They believed
everything is composed of earth, air, fire, and water. Eg. The rock
will fall from the air because it doesn’t belong in the air; it desired
to be with the earth. This suggestion that something has a soul is
• Volcano Bound Virgins- Throw virgins down a volcano to make the
gods less angry and cause peaceful weather.
• Magicians- If you see an illusionist do a trick and you know what
they’re doing, it’s no longer magic. You see skill, talent, but no
magic. When you see something you don’t understand, you
consider it magic.
• The concept of souls, we don’t understand. If we did understand
the complexity, we wouldn’t call it a soul.
• If a computer can do what a human can do, is the machine
intelligent? Or is the human not? And what about soul? Algorithms,
search engines and information is stored. It is not intelligent. It’s
not so great because we know of its intelligence. However,
humans are considered intelligent. If we understood where the
intelligence underlies, we wouldn’t be intelligent.
• William James and Rene Decartes prove to be intelligent people,
had a hard time as young people. They suffered from mental
health issues, incapable of functioning in real world. They both
attempted to find themselves through travelling.
• When the statues moves, he found out liquid hydraulics caused it. Humans controlled it. The Neptune statue blocked his path to
Diana statue. He considered all items that moved and whether
they had intention.
• He believed animals have no souls; they are machines. Others
researched by torturing animals (mental