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Chapter 1

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PSYC 403
Zbigniew Pleszewski

fbChapter 1: Methodological Considerations Why Study the History of the Domain - Presentism: interpreting a historical event or concept with reference to modern (present) knowledge and values. o E.G. assume that what people prefer now is “better”, therefore democracy should be better always- thus Plato was wrong. o Very judgemental approach - Historicism: interpreting historical events or concepts in the context of epoch and place. o A non-judgemental approach o Tries to understand the event or a concept within the circumstances of the times and place Who or What Makes History? Four hypotheses: 1) Zeitgeist Ortgeist Hypothesis: o Assumes that the historical events or ideas by themselves have a momentum that permits somebody at a right time and place to enact or express them (e.g. Hitler acted as an expression of economic and social frustrations in Europe) o Originally the term was used by two German philosophers of European Romanticism o George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) and Johann Wolfgang von Goeth (1979- 1832)  Zeitgeist:  A semi-mystical force that shapes human history. (Hegel)  A world view or collection of beliefs and opinions that dominates a culture at a given period and shapes the intellectual, artistic, and social climate. (Goethe)  Now it means a climate of opinion or mentality of the epoch. ( e.g. 21- century internetism, 20-century commercialism)  Ortgeist:  Climate of opinion or mentality typical for a specific place, community, for a country (e.g. British nostalgia for royal tradition, Polish commitment to Catholicism) 2) Special- Person Hypothesis: o Also known as the “Great-Person Model” o Assumes that the appearance of an extraordinary individual makes history unique (e.g. Alexander the Great, Napoleon) 3) Cyclical repetition hypothesis: o Assumes that history repeats itself in cycles of growth and collapse; wealth and poverty; war and peace; development and stagnation; democracy and autocracy; rationality and irrationality; spiritualism and materialism. o The old philosophies or scientific concepts disappear and re-emerge in a new form. 4) Randomness Hypothesis: o Considers the political, social, artistic, and scientific events as occurring by chance rather than as a predictable chain of occurrences. o There is no regularity, no rules therefore it is impossible to predict the political, artistic, or scientific events, and there is no meaning in history, yet we impose meaning onto chaotic events. o Werner Karl Heisenberg: Everything happens by chance (1901-1976) o Paul K Feyerabend: it would be naïve to search for regularities in the emergence of scientific theories, because theories emerge by chance or by random “rebellion” of a scientist who tries an unorthodox idea. History of Written Term “Psychology” - Aristotle: originally written in Greek (Peri Psuche) and translated into Latin “De Anima (About the soul, or On psyche) gave us quite a complex set of psychological concepts. However, he never used the term “psychology”. - The original in Greek was lost o Fortunately its Latin transcriptions, as well as many other Hellenistic books, were copied by Christian (Byzantine) monks. - Jewish and Islamic scholars also contributed in preservation of ancient scripts - Believed that Marko Marulic (1450-152et4) first wrote “psychology” for the first time o A Macedonian monk and scholar o wrote a Latin treaty entitled “Psichologia de ratione animae humanae” (Psychology of human rational soul) o used the term psychologia as a combination of two Greek words: Psuche = soul and Logia= study OR logos = words/teaching - Three Renaissance humanists: Melanchthon, Freigius, and Goclenius o Historians believed they almost simultaneously used the term psychology in their writings. - Johannes Thomas Freigius: o A scholar and lawyer uses the term in his Latin Essay “Ciceronianus” - Rudolph Goeckel (or Goclenius): o In his book “Psychology i.e. on human perfection, the soul and its origin” used Greek letters to emphasize the Greek origin of the term psuchelogia or psychologia. o After his death the term psychology disappears from writing and is replaced by the term “pneumologia” to emphasize the notion of animating breath of life (Pneuma). - Psychology remained a domain of philosophy until 1879 when Wilhelm Wundt establishes it as an autonomous domain of science - John Watson tried to replace the term psychology by a pragmatic term “behaviorism” o Albert Bandura: called it social-cognitive behaviorism Old and New Ways of Thinking about Behavior and its Mechanism - Anthropomorphism: o Term comes from two Greek words : human and structure or form- thus, “human-like” o The attribution of human characteristics and qualities to non-human beings or objects o Most likely one of the ways our ancestors understood the behavior of other humans animals, and even nonliving objects’ by projecting their own subjective feelings, thoughts, and attitudes onto others. - Animism: o Comes from Latin term “Anima” which is translated as Spirit, Soul, Breath of life, or Pneuma. o Tendency to understand behavior as an act produced and monitored by a powerful agent residing in the body of other material entity, and making the action possible (animating, guiding) o Ancestors noticed that whenever the breath of life (spirit or anima) leaves the body, death follows. - Magic: o Similar to words: magnitude, magnificence, and power. o A belief that the spirit might temporarily detach itself from the body without necessarily leaving it dead (in contrast to animism) o The traveling spirit has an enormous power of influencing other spirits and material bodies or objects. - Religion: o If divided into two words : re- and league = a hope to re-unite humans with God o Each religion offers a complex system of beliefs about the universal spirit and the place of human spirit or soul in it. - Philosophy: o The term emphasizes the idea of the love of wisdom, a sophisticated way of reasoning about the universe and human existence in it. o Deals with issues such as: What is the nature and role of human beings in the universe? Is there a deeper meaning of our existence and destiny? Why do we struggle to achieve some goals, to experience something and to leave good memories behind before we die? - Science: o The term emphasizes such procedures as: observing, measuring, experimenting, hypothesizing, controlling, and predicting. o System of rigorous principles and procedures of collecting data and generating conclusions about the structure and functions of nature. - Modern psychology aspires to have the status of a science of behaviour and its mechanisms, and tries to apply the universal rules and assumptions of science. Philosophical and Methodological Issues Basic Axioms or Assumptions in Science Two basic assumptions: 1) There is a lawful universe 2) The universe is knowable - Observational Laws: describe the repeatable coincidences or contingencies of 2 or more events which are not measurable (e.g. after the sun sets, always the night follows) o Allow further observation and description but not control or explanation - Correlational Laws: rules of coincidences between 2 measurable variables (e.g. the higher the level of anxiety, the lower the cognitive performance) o Allow prediction but not control or explanation - Causal Laws: rules of controllable and measurable coincidences (e.g Newton’s laws of gravity) o Allowed to make predictions, control and offer an explanation - Aristotle: believed there are at least 4 types of causes mutually linked, as illustrated by the domino effect o Antecedent causes:  Called material causes and formal causes  Material cause of domino effect is the type of material all the pieces are built from  Formal cause: al
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