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Psychology (9,696)
PSYC85H3 (138)
Chapter 2


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Gerald Cupchik

CHAPTER 2: ORGINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL THOUGHT • Greeks speculated about nature of mathematics and ability to represent reality • Touchstone: criterion which value of something is measured PYTHAGORAS (570 BCE) • Harmony: structure of math is structure of reality—math order underlies reality • Our experiences are not chaotic, because math explains them. • Unity: wholeness, oneness, simplicity that is perfect • Chaos: opposite of unity, undesirable • Opposing tendencies in our experience: light/dark, good/evil, strong/weak Cosmology • Similar to yin/yang of Taoism • Universe is a unity that is broken down into pairs of opposites, these opposites are reunited, harmonized to create life---process of creation • Nature of opposites, important of number in regulating all this Opposites • Some pairs of opposite important for describing human experience—most important were limit vs unlimited • Integration of opposites—limited, we don’t not experience unlimited things • Something may be potentially unlimited (snow), but it has precise math structure (limit) • Unlimited: being out of balance, lacking proportion (not positive)—by adding limits, can only then be properly balanced • Proper balance b/w opposites: harmony—union of opposites: unity • Psyche: soul tries to harmonize, when opposite forces in person are properly balanced, we can experience harmonious structures Mathematics • Gnomon: carpenter square, +/- of a figure from another figure of same shape area enclosed by gnomons increase in size, but retain several invariant features:  unity( start with one pebble), figure is always a square, definite limit…  Limit: odd, square, unity; unlimited: plural, oblong, even • A2+b2=c2 demonstrates invariant proportions PLATO (427 BCE) • Rational: integrals (Whole numbers) can express lengths (e.g., triangles) • Irrational: decimal numbers are irrational numbers • Problem of the irrational: try to deal with this issue, came up with golden section (0.6180): irrational proportion that ‘s value can be approximated by using Fibonacci numbers • As successive numbers in Fibonacci get larger, ratio, gets closer to the ratio— but never equals exactly the golden selection—always will fall short or over shoot a bit • This is because golden section is an ideal proportion, as a result, what we experience is an imperfect representation of something ideal. • Perfect Forms: more real than import forms, ideal world of perfect forms • Can gain knowledge of forms, but not aware of them—what we interact with are just “shadows” for ideal forms • Inability to remember the basic ideas that allow us to organize our experiences meaningfully • Innate ideas exit because soul is immortal and purified when its incarnated, but still has knowledge of things—so not really learning—actually remembering (anamnesis) SOCRATES • Something we learn vs something we have innately • Innate Knowledge: (e.g., got a slave kid to solve a problem using Pythagoras’s theory without ever being educated) Gestalt: form/configuration—importance of innate tendencies towards “good form” Solutions to problem emerges on basis, child already knows---child can see relationships, it’s an innate ability • Difficulties in life stem from inability to perceive relationships LAO TZU • Means old man, sage, person of profound wisdom Taoism: wisdom of lao-tzu • Confucius: develop one’s intelligence through education and following traditional values—people are defined by relationships to others, relationships structures hierarchically Emphasises the social and moral order, excludes interest in natural phenomenon • Taoism: less explicit and more mystical, treats natural and social orders as continuous • Tao: the way in which universe is worked—nature of change: ant situation is in process of changing into opposite • Unlike Plato’s perfect world, Tao believed it was illusory—tao can’t be named or discovered • Believed in passively observing nature—observer what actually happens, not what should be BOOK OF CHANGE • Ching is fortune telling device, coded in a binary system—yin, and yang
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