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History and systems of psychology test
Terms in this set (25)
Explain the difference between epistemology and metaphysics.
Epistemology is the philosophy about knowledge and metaphysics is a philosophy about reality. One might say that epistemology is about what is "in here" (pointing to the head) and metaphysics is about what is "out there".
Define rationalism and empiricism.
Rationalism is the epistemological view that knowledge is innate and that logic is the true path to wisdom. Empiricism is the view that we are born a blank slate and all knowledge comes from the senses.
Explain why studying the history of psychology is important.
We need to understand how philosophy of mind has shaped the questions we ask in psychology, and what kinds of philosophies have been shown to be problematic. We also want to understand the broader connections between all of the subfields of psychology.
Explain the mind/body problem and describe examples of different perspectives on it.
The mind/body problem is the philosophy of understanding the nature of mind and reality. What is mind? Is it mental or is it physical? Perspectives include dualism (mind and body are separate) and monism (mind and body are the same). Within monism, there are different views including materialism and idealism.
. Define realism and nominalism.
Realism is the idea that the universals (i.e. concepts, categories) are real and exist outside of the mind, and nominalism is the view that universals are only mental concepts, are not real and do not exist outside the mind
What was the role of reason in Heraclitus' theory of knowledge
Reason was needed to interpret the senses, and to understand better the world around us via the senses
Explain Zeno's dichotomy paradox and how it was used to justify rationalism.
The dichotomy paradox demonstrates the paradoxical nature of space and distance by showing how an infinite number of points can be placed inside a finite area. In the example, a runner who runs 100m can never leave the start line (or get to the finish line) because the distance traveled can always be divided out again and again. It is used to justify rationalism because it shows that because concepts such as distance and motion are illogical, that our senses must also be illogical (because we obtain concepts such as distance and motion from the senses). Thus the senses cannot be trusted and we must use innate reason to determine truth.
Outline all the steps to knowledge in Plato's Reminiscence Theory
First, the soul inhabits the ethereal realm of forms where it comes into direct contact with the pure forms, the true essences of reality. After gaining knowledge of these forms or essences, the soul is born into the human body (transmigration), upon which it forgets the knowledge from the ethereal realm. When the body comes into contact with imperfect manifestations of the pure forms/essences, the soul is gradually reminded of the innate knowledge.
Explain Democritus' perceptual theory.
First, all objects, including the mind are made of atoms. The atoms that make up objects emit tiny copies of themselves called eidola. Thus, a grouping of eidola from the atoms of an object represent a tiny copy of that object. This copy flies invisibly through the air, until it contacts the sensory apparatus of a human or animal, which then triggers motions of the mind-atoms that it comes into contact with. The motions of these mind atoms cause the person to perceive the object, and also to have an awareness of the object.
Explain how the scientific method is an example of induction.
Induction is reasoning from the particular to the general. In science, theories are general statements designed to encompass particular observations. Theories are created inductively after scientists make careful observations.
Explain how Ockham's razor is used to justify nominalism.
Nominalism is the idea that our knowledge of universal concepts or abstract things is merely a label or name that we use to organize our sensory experience. It does not correspond to anything that is real. The concept exists only within us. Occam's razor is a philosophical tool that states that the simplest argument, with the fewest assumptions, is a better argument. Nominalism requires the fewest assumptions because it makes no claims about an external reality that cannot be directly known.
Define primary and secondary qualities, and explain how these terms imply a mind-body dualism
Primary qualities are the properties of objects as they exist in the universe. Secondary qualities are the properties of objects as they appear to us. Thus, primary qualities are physical, and secondary qualities are psychological. If the two kinds of qualities are not identical, then that implies that the physical and psychological worlds are separate, distinct and different, and that is dualism.
Explain the difference between essential qualities and particular qualities.
Essential qualities define the identity of an object, while the particular qualities make it unique. Or, essential qualities are what items in the same category have in common, while particular qualities are what each item in a category has uniquely
Explain the difference between exaggerated realism and moderate realism.
Realism is the idea that the universals are real and exist outside the mind. Exaggerated realism separates essences from particulars, while moderate realism argues for the co-mingling and inter-dependence of essences and particulars.
How did Platonic rationalism manage to become the dominant philosophy in Western Europe?
After the fall of the Roman empire, philosophy thrived within the monasteries of the early Catholic church, which spread Christianity throughout the continent. Early Christian theology was infused with Platonic thinking through the movement called Neoplatonism.
Explain the principle of solipsism that derives from Descartes' "brain in a vat" exercise.
Descartes argued that we cannot be sure that we are not just a brain in a vat, being tricked into believing that we occupy a body, which occupies a physical universe. He said that our sensory impressions that tell us this could be false, an illusion. If we take this idea to the extreme, then we state that the only thing we can really be sure of is our own ability to think. That means that nothing but our own consciousness exists, the rest of the universe and everyone in it, is an illusion. This idea is solipsism: nothing else exists but our own mind.
Explain why Descartes is considered a rationalist.
Because he doubted the senses and argued that the only thing that cannot be doubted is one's own rational mind.
What is the main difference between parallelism and interactionism?
While both are types of dualism, in parallelism there is no interchange between the mind and body, they just work in perfect synchrony. In interactionism, there is interchange. The mind controls the body and the body informs the mind.
According to Spinoza, why do people believe they have free will?
Because we are more focused on our immediate desires and wants, rather than on why we have these desires (i.e., the prior causes of our thoughts and feelings).
Explain Descartes' solution to the problem of interactionism and the problems with it.
Descartes attempted to solve the interaction problem by arguing that the mind exists in the pineal gland and from there executes tiny movements that trigger the flow of animal spirits through the nerves. The problem is that this theory violates his definition of the mind, because in order for this to work, the mind must move, be spatial, and be material
Explain the importance of association to the empiricists.
Empiricists argue that all knowledge is the accumulation of ideas, and the associations between them, through learning and experience
Describe the difference between mental physics and mental chemistry.
Mental physics reduces complex ideas down into a simple sum, or list of the simple ideas that compose them. Mental chemistry is the idea that complex ideas are not just the sum of simple ideas, that they are more than that.
"If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?" How would John Locke, as an empiricist and a dualist, answer that question? Explain your answer. How would an idealist like Berkeley answer the question? Explain why. What about the skeptic Hume? Finally, how would the common-sense empiricist Thomas Reid answer the question? Again, explain your answer.
Locke was a dualist and accepted the distinction between primary and secondary qualities. Because sound is a secondary quality and is therefore only a psychological "thing", it only exists in the mind of the observer - so if there is no observer, this is no sound. Berkeley stated that "to be is to be perceived". Thus, you might answer that Berkeley would state that there would be no sound if there was no observer. However, Berkeley also supposed that God was an ultimate perceiver that was always present, so in that sense, there would be a sound. Hume, on the other hand, was a skeptic and atheist, so his answer is simply "I don't know, if I'm not there to observe it myself, then I cannot say". Reid would give a common sense answer, "of course there was a sound".
Explain positivism as it was defined by Comte.
Positivism was Comte's attempt to replace religion with science, by stating that only things that are directly observable can be truly known, and are valid subjects of scientific inquiry. Things known through reflection or introspection do not count as scientific and are therefore not valid knowledge. External events that can be observed and described by multiple persons count as the topic of positivistic science, and nothing else.
Explain why many empiricists tended to be determinists.
Empiricists argue for a blank slate mind, that contains nothing until sensory impressions are written upon it. Because the mind does not have the active and innate ability to receive and interpret sensations, then the sensations must organize themselves according to the laws of association, and as a result, all our knowledge is the result of this organizing process. We are at the mercy of our experiences coupled with the laws of association - leaving no room for free will.
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