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Lecture 2

PSYCH 9A Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: John Stuart Mill, The Conscious Mind, Immanuel Kant

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Thomas Michael D' Zmura

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Chapter 1-Science of Psychology
empiricism= knowledge is acquired through experience
John Locke
Tabula rasa= blank slate
Experience refers to working with the information provided to us by our
senses and other faculties like memory
Distal stimulus: object or event in the world out there, like a tree
Proximal stimulus: pattern of energy from that object which stimulates
our sensory organs, such as the light from the tree reaching our eyes
What we want: knowledge of the distal stimulus
What we get: proximal simulation
Problem: the proximal stimulus does not tell us directly what the
distal stimulus is
George Berkeley
Two states are needed to understand how the mind works to
interpret proximal stimuli
1. Our senses provide raw input: sensations
2. Our minds link these sensations to provide a meaningful
organization of our perceived world: associations
nativism= knowledge is innate
Immanuel Kant
There are categories according to which sensory material is
Space, time, and causality are a priori (built-in or innate)
Experience provides sensory input ordered according to the a
priori categories
nature/nurture debate: the arguments concerning whether psychological
characteristics are biologically innate or come from experience
The view today= nature and nurture influence each other and are
Mind-body problem
The conscious mind seems completely different from the physical body
How can mental events influence physical/biological ones?
How can physical/biological events influence mental ones?
There are many different philosophical angles on the problem. Mind and
body are aspects of the same thing (monism). Both are mental. Both are
physical. Mind and body are different (dualism).
Rene Descartes
Inverted spectrum problem
Two people look at the same light. They both use the same hue word to
describe the light. Repeat for a variety of lights. Objective behavior
Does this mean that the color seen by one person in response to a light is
identical to the color in response to the same light? There may be a
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