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Arts and Humanities
Psyc. 192 Ch. 2
Terms in this set (26)
The doctrine that natural processes are mechanically determined and capable of explanation by the laws of physics and chemistry. The principles embodied by the machines, mechanical figures, and clocks that first appeared in the 17 c. influenced the direction of psychology. The prevailing climate of thought in the 17 to 19 centuries had an underlying philosophy of mechanism, all natural processes are mechanically determined and are capable of being explained by the laws of physics and chemistry. It also claimed that because the effect is subject to laws of measurement, human behavior should be predictable. Mechanism states that you are a complex mechanism made up of parts. It is the underlying theme of this historic flow chart: Automata --> Clockwork universe --> People as machines --> Mind is machine --> Computational Mind (cognitive psyc.).
The doctrine that acts are determined by past events. We can predict the changes that will occur in the operation of the clock, as well as the universe, because we understand the order and regularity with which its parts function. Mechanism has rules. There are causes and effects, you cannot rely on miracles or intuition. It claims that outcomes are determined by input.
The doctrine that explains phenomena on one level (such as complex ideas) in terms of phenomena on another level (such as simple ideas). (Reducing things to their basic components). It was thought that we could understand the physical universe by analyzing or reducing them to its simplest parts, to its molecules and atoms. However, some things are better to discuss at a certain level than another. It makes us think "where's the best place to stop?" and it is useful to know as a technique.
The pursuit of knowledge through the observation of nature and the attribution of all knowledge to experience. Before the establishment of empiricism, philosophers had looked to the past for answers, to the works of Aristotle and other ancient scholars, and to the bible. The ruling forces of philosophical inquiry were dogma (the doctrine proclaimed by the established church) and authority figures.
Empiricism (as method)
Empiricism as the scientific method, measuring/observing the physical world. A question that can be answered through the physical world.
Empiricism (as vs. nativism)
Empiricism as vs. nativism is one side of the nature/nurture problem. Nature = nativist, nurture = empiricist. This means that we have certain aspects that are universal to humans as being nature/genetics (i.e. Speaking a language) that are influenced by nurture (i.e. The kind of language that's spoken). It claims that certain parts of the brain are predisposed to do specific things.
The empiricist view
The mind grows through the progressive accumulation of sensory experiences. This idea contrasts with then nativistic view exemplified by Descartes, which holds that some ideas are innate.
Deals with how you become who you are. Nature refers to the idea that you are born the person you are meant to be. It encompasses innate traits such as genetics. Nurture refers to the idea that your environment shaped/created you to be who you are. This problem often considers how much genetics gives you versus how much your environment shapes you.
The question of the distinction between mental and physical qualities. Descartes's most important contribution to the development of modern psychology was his attempt to resolve the centuries-old controversy about the mind body problem. The question was: are mind and body, the mental world and the material world, distinct from each other? Before Descartes, scholars had taken a dualistic approach, arguing hat the minds and the body had different natures. It was accepted heat the interaction between mind and body flowed primarily in one direction: the mind could exert an enormous influence on the body, but the body had little effect on the mind. Descartes claimed however that the mind influences the body, but the body exerts a greater influence on the mind than previously supposed. The relation ship is not one directional, but rather is a mutual interaction. As a result, scientists came to assign a greater importance to the physical or material body. Functions previously attributed to the mind were now considered functions of the body. So scientists accepted the mind and body as two separate entities. This concept is known as dualism.
Reflex action theory
The idea that an external object (a stimulus) can bring about an involuntary response.
Ideas produced by the direct application of an external stimulus.
Ideas that arise from the mind or consciousness, independent of sensory experiences or external stimuli.
The doctrine that recognizes only natural phenomena or facts that are objectively observable. A system based exclusively on facts that are objectively observable and not debatable. (Related to empiricism as method.) The widespread acceptance of positivism meant that scholars would consider two types of propositions: knowledge derived from metaphysics and from theology was "nonsense." Only knowledge derived from science was held to be valid.
The doctrine that considers the facts of the universe to be sufficiently explained in physical terms by the existence and nature of matter. The facts of the universe could be described in physical terms and explained by the properties of matter and energy. (Related to mechanism) there are physical rules for everything, and you have to follow these while explaining things. The materialists' work on mental processes focused in physical properties, that is, the anatomical and physiological structures of the brain.
Elemental ideas that arise from sensation and reflection.
Derived ideas that are compounded of simple ideas and thus can be analyzed or reduced to their simpler components.
The notion that knowledge results from linking or associating simple ideas to form complex ideas.
Characteristics such as size and shape that exist in an object whether or not we perceive them.
Characteristics such as color and odor that exist in our perception of the object.
The doctrine that all knowledge is a function of mental phenomena and dependent on the perceiving or experiencing person.
The notion that complex ideas formed from simple ideas take on new qualities; the combination of the mental elements creates somethings greater than or different from the sum of the original elements.
He helped to free scientific inquiry from the control of rigid, old theological and intellectual beliefs. He wanted to explain human behavior without the implications of the soul. Descartes symbolized the transistor to the modern era of science, and he applied the idea of clockwork mechanism to the human body. He inaugurated the era of modern psychology. Descartes's most important contribution to the development of modern psychology was his attempt to resolve the centuries old controversy about the mind-body problem (developed dualism). He also contributed to the theory of reflex action which is the idea that an external object/stimulus can bring about an involuntary response. He further suggested that the mind produces derived ideas (produced by the direct application of an external stimulus) and innate ideas (arise from the minds or consciousness, independent of sensory experiences or external stimuli).
His book marks the formal beginning of British empiricism. He rejected the existence of innate ideas, as proposed by Descartes, and argued that humans are born without any knowledge whatsoever. He held that the mind at birth was a tabula rasa, a blank slate. The blank slate theory stated that the mind acquired knowledge through experience and everything has to be learned. He recognized two kinds of experiences, one deriving from sensation and the other from reflection (sensation always comes first). He also distinguished between simple ideas (elemental ideas that arise from sensation and reflection) and complex ideas (derived ideas that are compounded of simple ideas and thus can be analyzed or reduced to their simpler parts). The notion of combining or compounding ideas and the reversed notion of analyzing them marks the beginning of the mental - chemistry approach to the problem of association. In this view, simple ideas maybe linked or associated to form a complex ideas. Association is an early name for the process psychologists call "learning". Another proposition important to early psychology is Lockes's distinction between primary and secondary qualities as they apply to simple sensory ideas. The distinction between primary and secondary qualities is consonant with the mechanistic position, which holds that matter in motion constitutes the only objective reality.
Berkeley agreed with Locke that all knowledge of the external world comes from experience, but he disagreed with lockes's distinction between primary and secondary qualities. Berkeley argued that there were no primary qualities only secondary qualities. To Berkeley, all knowledge was a function of or depended on the experiencing or perceiving person. This position was given the name mentalism, to denote it's emphasis on purely mental phenomena. According to Berkeley, then, the world of our experiences becomes the summation of our sensations. Complex ideas are formed by joining the simple ideas that are received through the senses.
James Mill (1773-1836)
James mill stated goal was to destroy the illusion of all subjective or mental activities and to demonstrate that the mind was nothing more than a machine. According to this view, the mind is a totally passive entity that is acted on by external stimuli. We respond to these stimuli automatically; we are incapable of acting spontaneously. This is the mechanistic doctrine (views of determinism: the minds is passive and automatic). ToMill, sensations and ideas are the only kinds of mental elements that exist. Association is mechanical, and the resulting ideas are merely the accumulation or sum of the individual mental elements.
J. S. Mill (1806-1873)
Through his writings on various topics, John Stuart Mill became an influential contributor to what was soon to become formally the new science of psychology. He argued against the mechanistic position of his father, who viewed the mind as passive, something acted upon by external stimuli. To John Stuart Mill, the mind played an active role in the association of ideas. Complex ideas take on new qualities that are not found in the simple elements. According to creative synthesis, the proper combining of mental elements always produces some distance quality that was not present in the elements themselves. Mill called this approach to the association of ideas mental chemistry.
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