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PSYA01H3 (1,206)
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Chapter 1

PSYA01 CHAPTER 1 NOTES

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYA01H3
Professor
Steve Joordens
Semester
Fall

Description
Friday, September 6, 2013 PSYA01H3 - LECTURE 2 • Professor Joordans will change the order of the Powerpoint slides on the Blackboard Portal by the end of today • The Powerpoint slides can be printed if you go to class, or you can have them on your laptop • The Powerpoints aren't a replacement for lectures, they're just something easy to base your notes on • Professor Joordans will finalize the syllabus by the end of today (Friday, September 6) • The next three lectures will be about the history of psychology, in greater detail than in the text book • Do you believe humans have a soul? How about animals? • The study of our behaviour and the rules governing our behaviour is fairly new (over a 100 years old) • Psychology was born in the 1800s • Difference between philosophy and science - philosophy is getting at the truth by thinking and arguing • Science is getting at the truth by testing those ideas empirically • Something is a science if it involves experiments, the purpose of which is to get at the truth of things • We came to knowledge largely through arguing, debating, and thinking (which are philosophical means) • During time of Sir Isaac Newton, there was a push for data collection, analysis, etcetra • People believed they could get the truth from actually measuring things, and by analyzing the behaviours of the physical world to understand the underlying natural laws • A potential problem was - humans thought we were special and are spirits in a material world (all material things are physical and follow natural laws) • We thought that we are different and spiritual, which doesn't have to follow natural laws • Spiritual powers can override natural laws, because spiritual powers created the universe • If we are spiritual, it doesn't make sense to study things scientifically • If we are even part material, and the spiritual notion of the 'soul' is not wholly true, we become open to scientific investigation • Very early in human history, humans thought souls were all over the place • We thought everything in the world was composed of four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) • For e.g., a battery would be categorized as earth, since it's made of earthly material, and when you let go of it, it would fall to the ground (earth) because it's an 'earth' thing • Air things like to be in the air, earth things like to be on the earth, etcetra • These notions were very common - the battery would have desires/goals/things it would want to accomplish, and it would try to accomplish that • Animism - everything in the world may, therefore, have souls • Another e.g. is, if you lived where agriculture was important and it wasn't raining, it was because you upset some force in the universe, which wouldn't be happy with you • You would have to make this force happy so that it would rain • The weather, therefore, would have goals and desires • You would have to appease some god to get rain • Concept of magic - if the magician performs an illusion, which you don't understand, you experience magic • When you find out how the illusion works, the magic is gone - you aren't filled with the wonder that something impossible is happening before you • Similarly, we think we have souls and are mystical/spiritual, because we don't understand the things we do • Everything about us is mechanical and material, so our concept of soul may disappear once we understand that • We are so complex that we don't know our own algorithms, but they're there • Rene Descartes was famous at our age, and contributed to philosophy and math • He had mental issues, such as fitting into the world socially, and was uncomfortable • The doctor told him to get away and relax, so he visited parks in Paris • One park was special - it had a new feature, a special effect according to us; he saw a statue of Diana, the goddess of hunt (according to ancient Greeks) • He approached it, and Neptune came from behind a bush with a triton to block Rene from seeing the statue • During Rene's time, people were learning about hydraulics - Rene may have stepped on a pressure plate, which forced water through a tube that pushed the statue out onto his path • Rene saw this through a philosophical perspective, where a rock had moved with apparent intention • The statue behaved like a living being with a soul, that wanted to prevent him from doing something • If something 'moved' with 'intention', it seemed to have a soul, but Rene saw something move with intention that didn't have a soul • Moving was no longer a defining feature of a soul, and people started thinking that maybe humans are driven by hydraulics • There was the idea that animals have no soul and are just very clever machines, just biology (hydraulics). There's no entity within them, they're like the statue Rene saw • Rene found a middle ground - Cartesian dualism • Humans are dualistic; part of us is like the animals (mechanical and material), but we have a soul to control the machinery (our body and some of
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