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Chapter 4

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PSYC 397
Mary C Olmstead

PSYC 397 The Premodern World 1000 – 1600 CE Chapter 4 Premodern: from Antiquity to Scientific Revolution. The Middle Ages: Overview The Middle Ages: 1000 – 1350 CE; period of economic and population recovery following Late Antiquity. • Appearance of cities • Autonomy (of the citizens) • Business (profits), not virtue, was the drive • Technological development – necessary to be productive • Opened up world trade • No slavery Machine-thinking: began in the High Middle Ages; this was a belief that the world is a machine. This idea would become central during the Scientific Revolution. Middle Ages were important for science and philosophy. • Many of Aristotle’s works were recovered • Developed his works and natural science flourished Magna Carta (1215) limited the power of the monarchy and gave power to the citizens. Bubonic Plague divides the High Middle Ages from the Late Middle Ages. Bubonic Plague • Time of turmoil and fear • 1/3 of Europe’s population wiped out • Conflict between religious and secular leaders • Luther’s Reformation (challenging authority of Catholic church) High Middle Ages à Late Middle Ages à Renaissance Renaissance • More Greek and Roman works recovered • Authorities of the Catholic church and feudal system were taken away • Catalyzed the modern way of life Medieval Psychology • Change was seen as bad, because it often made life more difficult (e.g., poverty, bad rulers) 4 : 1 PSYC 397 • Even in times of prosperity, children would eat the surplus and then hard times would return • This was the model proposed by Malthus, therefore it is noted as the Malthusian economy Medieval philosophy can be summarized by the phrase “as above, so below.” This was derived by extending the hierarchy to the right into the social world. This resulted in the Great Chain of Being: God King Aristocats Freemen Serfs • Status quo was maintained because kings were considered to be servants of God (being the closest to God on the hierarchy) “As above, so below” is important because it ignores human nature. It prescribed characteristics to people and has not interest in exploring human nature. This premodern philosophy is different from the Greek philosophies preceding it and the modern ideas to come. 12th and 13th centuries: universities. These were associated with the church, and thus produced theologian-philosophers. Two figures in this school: St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas. • The beliefs of St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas represent the two great Medieval approaches to human nature, knowledge, and God. 4 : 2 PSYC 397 St. Bonaventure St. Thomas Aquinas (1221 – 1274) (1225 – 1274) Platonic-Augustinian: Christian Neoplatonic Aristotelian-Thomistic: way of natural reason philosophy. constrained by faith. • Mystical • Dualistic • Showed that Aristotle’s (scientific) philosophy and Christianity could be Soul capable of two forms of knowledge: combined i. Knowledge of the external world • Believed that human reason is limited by • This is shared with the body • Not a representation of true reality, which knowledge of the natural world involves illumination from God • Not a dualist ii. Knowledge of the spiritual world • Includes knowledge of God We can only determine truth through what we observe empirically in nature. Through this, we • Comes from introspective meditation o Goal was to gain a vision of God, cannot know God, but we can make inferences and not understanding of the self come to know him by observing His work in the world. Mental faculties 1. Vegetative faculties • He drew from the works of Aristotle and Ibn Sina 2. Sensitive faculties 3. Intellect 4. Will • Refined understanding (within Aristotelian psychology) of the aspects of human nature • Mental faculties contain “higher” and “lower” aspects • Wanted to know what distinguished humans from animals • System is similar Ibn Sina’s Unlike Ibn Sina’s model, Aquinas differentiated two types of estimation (not pictured in diagram). Estimation proper: reflexive harm/benefit analysis belonging to animals. • E.g., the lamb must flee the wolf, the cat must pounce on the mouse Cogitava: higher order, rational harm/benefit analysis belonging to humans. We may approach/avoid at will, we do not act reflexively 4 : 3 PSYC 397 Intellectual appetite: will; ability to be motivated by morals and reason. • Right and wrong • Humans Sensitive appetite: reflexive actions of approach/avoid, and reducing obstacles in way of goals. • Pleasure and pain • Animals Differences from Ibn Sina’s model • Differentiated human and animal estimation o Estimation proper & cogitava • No compositive imagination (unnecessary because of description of memory and estimation) • No practical intellect (unnecessary because of description of cogitava) • Returned active intellect into the rational (human) soul – Saw knowledge not as a divine gift but as a human ability 4 : 4 PSYC 397 Psychology in the Late Middle Ages (before the plague) saw a rebirth of empiricism. Ontology: study of existence. The Classical philosophers melded this into studies of psychology. 4 : 5 PSYC 397 William of Ockham: responsible for reviving empiricism in psychology during the Late Middle Ages. Differentiated psychology from metaphysics. Ockham’s razor: he always sought the most parsimonious explanations. Intuitive cognition: our perceptions give us real understanding about what is true and false in the world. From here it is possible to abstract (see next). • Reality Abstractive cognition: concerning universals. Universals are mental concepts only that do not exist outside of the mind. • Hypothetical (we may abstract ideas that do not exist or are false) He asked questions pertaining to psychology where the Greeks had asked metaphysical questions (e.g., how can we transcend illusion and access the Forms?). • How do we acquire universal concepts when we have direct knowledge of only individuals? • Perception, object classification Took cognitive abilities away from the soul (where Aquinas, Aristotle, and Ibn Sina had placed them) and attributed them to the mind. Habit: concepts we hold are derived from our experiences. • Therefore universals are learned habits • Allow thought to be independent of actually sensed objects • Mental concepts (not behaviours, which was believed in the behaviourist tradition) Proclaimed that there are no scientific grounds to think that the soul is immortal. This proclamation separated science and religion, and was a first step in the development of science. th Physical science: developed in the 14 century as a result of William of Ockham’s work. Summa theologica: St. Thomas Aquinas’ idea that philosophical truth and God’s truth are the same. St. Bernard of Clairvaux rejected the idea of summa theologica, stating that God could be known through faith alone. 4 : 6 PSYC 397 Realism: idea that truth has a divine property, and that universal human concepts correspond to enduring Forms. In medieval times, this was a popular belief. The most common manifestation was that universal human concepts are an Idea in the mind of God. • Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas all held this belief Nominalism: idea that universal concepts are puffs of air that occur when we speak a name. That is to say, that there is no divine nature in universal concepts. This is the opposite of realism. Trying to analyze universal concepts would constrain 14 century thinkers in their belief of what humans could know. Peter Abelard: greatest medieval philosopher before the High Middle Ages (when Aristotle’s works were recovered). Conceptualism: universal concepts are not divine ideas but rather are mental labels. Major consequence of conceptualism: • Before, it was believed that humans could have complete knowledge – that is, they could transcend perception and have knowledge of the Forms or Ideas in the mind of God. • Now, conceptualism called into question whether or not beliefs reflect mere opinion • Skepticism came back If God created our realities, he could make illusions that we think we see but do not truly exist. Nicholas of Autrecourt: believed that thinking is a human activity that requires understanding, not divine intervention. Appearances are reality; even though we cannot know this for certain, it is more worthwhile than the opposite assumption that all appearances are false. • Follower of Ockham The modern concept of the individual came about during the High Middle Ages. • Biographies and autobiographies • Mirrors • Portraits reflecting the person, not just their status • Literature 4 : 7 PSYC 397 In early Christianity, women were allowed in every part of religious life: they could preach, worship, and often lived in chaste, mix-sex monasteries. Christianity began to take on Classical culture, and with it brought the misogyny of the Romans and rejection of sensual pleasure (a la Plato). Women, then, were ... • Oppressed • No longer allowed to preach • Not allowed at holy relics • Considered man’s helper (as if this was their only calling) • Sex considered sinful (whether married or not) • Virgin women considered holy, and yet all women seen as temptresses St. Jerome: Christian misogynist who described womanhood as the temptation of flesh. Fin amour: “courtly love.” This idea came about through popular literature with romantic themes. • Romantic sexual love • Knightly honour • Adultery Marie of France was one author who wrote fiction in the fin amour canon. Consequences of fin amour • Brought about more focus on the individual and the in
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