• Corvus
    963
    Some classic psychology such as Jung's, is almost a mysticism, not science. I think psychology is useful for philosophy for looking at the concepts and definitions from different aspects.
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    I'm not sure. A lot of posters are posting questions about why there are so many flavors of psychology.

    @unenlightened, do you know why this is, if I may be so bold?
    Shawn

    Listen carefully, I will say this only once (on each psychology thread).

    Science operates on the assumption that atoms do not understand atomic theory - in general that the objects of scientific study are not altered by the theory on has of them. At the quantum level, this becomes difficult because the act of observation itself affects the observed and this leads to the uncertainty principle. However, in psychology, the objects of observation are themselves observers, scientists, and psychological theorisers. Their theories of psychology radically affect their own psychology.

    So, for example, Freud's theories of sexual repression stemmed from observations of 'hysterical' wealthy women. It led to a change of mind of Western society, and eventually a sexual liberation, to the extent that sexual dream imagery is widely used in films and sexual repression has declined to the extent that hysteria is not even a thing. It happens whenever a psychological theory becomes popular, that the psychology of the populace adapts to it. And this is something no theory can account for in advance.

    Therefore, the methods of science cannot be reliably used in psychology, and when they are, theories run in fashions, each one becoming obsolete as it has its influence on the population.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    With no further introduction to give, I ask the reader whether they think psychology is an important field or whether any of the above makes sense to assert about the importance that philosophers purported was the examination of one's life?Shawn

    As someone who works in the area of mental illness and addiction (and complex trauma), I would say that psychology (in the broadest sense of that word - counselling/psychiatry/therapy) saves lives on a daily basis. So it is important. It helps people get in touch with who they are and who they want to be. It helps them manage their emotions and experiences. Yes, there is an overlap with some philosophy.

    Psychology is split into a myriad of sectarian divisions - from high theory psychotherapies, to practical no bullshit modalities. It's an absolutely vast area, with good and bad practitioners. Like any activity.

    One thing's for sure, many people are fearful of and resent psychology, often because they are suspicious of disciplines which purport to 'understand' human behaviour and which may also be used by military and advertising to persuade people to do things against their interests. And there's people who hold a view that psychology is fatally constricted and is devoid of spirituality - its knowledge derived from a meaningless scientism of 'rats and stats'.

    In my experience good psychology does not project a theory or viewpoint upon the person in treatment - it helps them to identify what's important to them and how to build a more sustainable emotional life, with enhanced relationships.

    As far as it being science, I would say, of course - but it can depend on the modality or particular theory. Psychology is a vast and uneven area. Susan Haack (a leading philosopher of science) reminds us that:

    There is no “Scientific Method,” I argue: i.e., no mode of inference or procedure of inquiry used by all and only scientists, and explaining the successes of the sciences. There are only:

    The inferences and procedures used by all serious empirical inquirers (make an informed guess as to the explanation of some puzzling phenomenon, check how well it stands up to the evidence you have, and any further evidence you can get); these are not used only by scientists.

    The special tools and techniques gradually developed by scientists over the centuries (instruments of observation, the calculus, statistical techniques, models and metaphors, computers and computer programs, social helps such as peer-review, etc., etc.); which, being often local, and always evolving, are not used by all AND:

    The involvement in scientific work of many people, who may be thousands of miles, or centuries, apart.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    in psychology, the objects of observation are themselves observers, scientists, and psychological theorisers.unenlightened

    Rarely. We usually use students!

    Their theories of psychology radically affect their own psychology.unenlightened

    Which would be a theory of psychology, so we'll just presume it'll become obsolete soon as fashion changes, yes?

    So, for example, Freud's theories of sexual repression stemmed from observations of 'hysterical' wealthy women. It led to a change of mind of Western society, and eventually a sexual liberationunenlightened

    Good example. Got a second? Try it with ACT-R, for example, how's that theory 'radically affected' the psychology of the subjects it is being tested against. Or how about the fast-mapping approach to language acquisition? Or the declining attentional resource theory of age-related memory loss. Or Dual Coding Theory? Or, in fact, any psychological theory from at least this fucking century.

    Therefore, the methods of science cannot be reliably used in psychologyunenlightened

    Even if your theory had a shred of evidence from nearer than a hundred years ago, you've not shown at all how it would actually prevent the application of the scientific method, only that it would present the field with some unique challenges.
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    Which would be a theory of psychology, so we'll just presume it'll become obsolete soon as fashion changes, yes?Isaac

    Yes indeed. you demonstrate it very well! As soon as you know what the theory is, you make a new presumption and of course presume that "we" will also make it. But it hasn't become fashionable yet really has it? As long as you disagree with it, it has a chance. :razz:

    Even if your theory had a shred of evidence from nearer than a hundred years ago,Isaac

    Oh it does. The list of defunct mental illnesses and defunct psychological theories is a very long one. But I do not require evidence to do conceptual analysis, and you have just demonstrated that you understand how the concepts work together.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    It's the sort of circularity a five year old could spot.Isaac

    @tim wood and I get along pretty well, philosophically, except when we don't. He has some pretty strong... opinions that always get me started - his antipathy towards religion and psychology are prime examples.

    I'm always happy to get to use "antipathy" in a post. Antipathy, antipathy, antipathy.

    Say it loud and there's music playing,
    Say it soft and it's almost like praying
  • baker
    2.5k
    There are also countless theories in physics, until we settle on the best one. Then we continuously revise.khaled

    But in the meantime, there are real consequences for people from psychologists. People get stigmatized with psychological diagnoses, lose jobs, get their reputations smeared.

    There being a multitude of theories in a particular field is fine, as long as there are no serious harmful consequences for people on account of that.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    The list of defunct mental illnesses and defunct psychological theories is a very long one.unenlightened

    That they're defunct doesn't lend any support to your theory. There are lots of defunct theories in physics too. The aspect of your theory which most stands in need of evidence is that prevailing theories in psychology affect the subjects of future studies. It seems obvious to me (from this site alone) that the vast majority of people are completely unaware of the vast majority of theories in contemporary psychology.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    tim wood and I get along pretty well, philosophically, except when we don't. He has some pretty strong... opinions that always get me started - his antipathy towards religion and psychology are prime examples.T Clark

    Yeah, I didn't mean the quip as a personal insult, but the logic here is childlike, even if the personalities aren't.

    I'm always happy to get to use "antipathy" in a post.T Clark

    Who isn't!
  • baker
    2.5k
    Even if your theory had a shred of evidence from nearer than a hundred years ago, you've not shown at all how it would actually prevent the application of the scientific method, only that it would present the field with some unique challenges.Isaac
    The issue is applied psychology, as it is applied by people in positions of power, whether they have a degree in psychology or not, and the legal power that these people have.

    And this isn't even about "the few bad apples". It's that someone in position of power can tell you "who you really are" and "what your problem is", issue a legally binding document that stigmatizes you, and you're supposed to accept all this, like the obedient sheeple that you're supposed to be.

    In the abstract, the field of psychology is interesting and seems relevant enough. But when actually applied, it's an entirely different story altogether.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    someone in position of power can tell you "who you really are" and "what your problem is", issue a legally binding document that stigmatizes youbaker

    Yes, definitely a very difficult and contentious issue in clinical psychology. What do you propose as an alternative?
  • baker
    2.5k
    And which leaves me wondering just what exactly psychology is. Maybe just a family name for differing methods and subjects they're applied to?tim wood

    It seems that psychology has largely taken over the role that religion/religiosity used to have. So that it is now psychology that prescribes to people what they are supposed to believe is real and what isn't, what is morally good and what isn't.
    The authoritarianism and the dogmatism have, of course, remained the same.
  • baker
    2.5k
    Yes, definitely a very difficult and contentious issue in clinical psychology. What do you propose as an alternative?Isaac

    If they are supposed to have that same measure of legal power, then psychologists should get their act together and agree on one theory and enforce it, one objective system of measurement.

    Far too much is left to the whimsy of the individual psychologist and their personal preferences.

    It's absurd, given the measure of legal power they have, and yet can afford so much whimsy.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    The issue is applied psychology, as it is applied by people in positions of power, whether they have a degree in psychology or not, and the legal power that these people have.baker

    The problems with applied psychology have nothing to do with whether or not psychology is a science. There are problems with applied physics that have the potential to destroy humanity, but that doesn't change physic's status as a science.
  • baker
    2.5k
    The problems with applied psychology have nothing to do with whether or not psychology is a science.T Clark
    What a strange thing to say. Science is science. If something is indeed a science, then it should be science all the way down.

    But in practice, it so often isn't. Take, for example, the measuring of IQ in preschool children, which is so important for making decisions about their future. The child is tested once, and yet so much hinges on that one result. Children are sent to special education schools, their futures cemented, all based on the results of one test. This is not scientific.

    Pick up any introductory book on the theme of scientific methodology, and you'll see the first chapters are devoted to errors in measurement and how to minimize them. One of the main ways to do so is to repeat the measurement several times and then calculate the mean. In practice, this isn't the norm.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    What a strange thing to say. Science is science. If something is indeed a science, then it should be science all the way down.baker

    Applied science is another phrase meaning "engineering." Engineering is in no way science.

    Pick up any introductory book on the theme of scientific methodology, and you'll see the first chapters are devoted to errors in measurement and how to minimize them.baker

    Again, that's science. Engineering is not science. Hitting a nail with a hammer is not a hammer. Applied psychology is not psychology.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    Applied psychology is not psychology.T Clark
    Clinical psychologists will be interested in that. I wonder what their degrees say.
    Hitting a nail with a hammer is not a hammer.T Clark
    Nor this a carpenter, but what, or among the things that, carpenters do.

    You said you'd like to demonstrate (not your word) that psychology is a science. What sort of a start might you make? Having your plane shot-up before it gets off the ground is better all-'round than it's being shot down after it gets up. But that's only if your start is no good. If instead it's good, then maybe we all learn. .
  • khaled
    3.1k
    So you’d propose we do no therapy until we have fully figured out human behavior?

    What about people who got harmed because we had false theories in physics?
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    It seems obvious to me (from this site alone) that the vast majority of people are completely unaware of the vast majority of theories in contemporary psychology.Isaac

    I will certainly grant you that. And i will also grant that this ignorance gives much psychology the semblance of truth. But once you have granted the principle, which seems obvious enough, that people (and societies) are altered by the prevailing psychology of the time, which you seem not to dispute in principle, then it is but a semblance. What is clear enough, surely, is that electrons are not affected significantly by the theories we have about them, but people most certainly are. this means that if there is something like an understanding of the human psyche to be had, it is not of the same order as physics.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    Clinical psychologists will be interested in that. I wonder what their degrees say.tim wood

    Now we're doodling around with language. It doesn't matter what the diploma says. It matters what people actually do. To be fair, I think the confusion you and I are having is something psychologists of all kinds are not very aware of. Maybe that's Freud's fault.

    Nor this a carpenter, but what, or among the things that, carpenters do.tim wood

    Now you've just gone out and ruined my brilliant metaphor or aphorism or whatever it is.

    You said you'd like to demonstrate (not your word) that psychology is a science. What sort of a start might you make? Having your plane shot-up before it gets off the ground is better all-'round than it's being shot down after it gets up. But that's only if your start is no good. If instead it's good, then maybe we all learn.tim wood

    You're just itching for a scrap and you're impatient waiting for me to decide whether I want to get into it.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    Actually not, and not at all. My bias is that philosophy done right and in good will means there are no scraps, and usually no disagreements, because all resolved in reason of one or another kind. Scraps resulting usually because someone isn't using reason or being reasonable.

    As to inviting you to start, that's along the lines of discovery in a lawsuit. Maybe in the start, discovery, will be something that makes further pursuit unnecessary. Maybe it's definition. I call a scientist a person who primarily uses the scientific method in his or her work. This in no way estops non-scientists from doing scientific work. But psychologists characteristically do work not susceptible to scientific treatment.

    I find online this list of psychologists along with a comment on their field:
    https://drdianehamilton.com/top-18-personality-theorists-including-freud-and-more/

    Sigmund Freud Psychodynamic Psychosexual Development, Id, Ego, Super-Ego
    Carl Jung Psychodynamic Collective Unconscious, True Persona, Introvert-Extrovert
    Alfred Adler Psychodynamic Social Urges, Conscious Thoughts, Compensation for Inferiorities,
    Karen Horney Psychodynamic Biological Influences on Personality Rather Than Social Forces
    Harry S. Sullivan Psychodynamic Interpersonal Relationships, Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem
    John Bowlby Attachment Parent Child Relationships, Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem
    Mary Ainsworth Attachment Strange Situation Theory, Observation of Parents
    Erik Erikson Psychosocial Child’s Trust Relationship With Mother, Early Development
    Carl Rogers Psychosocial Humanistic Theory Based on Subjective Experiences, Self-Understanding
    John Watson Behavioral Environmental Impact on Behavior
    Ivan Pavlov Behavioral Pavlov’s Dog, Classical Conditioning, Temperament
    B. F. Skinner Behavioral Operant Conditioning, Rewards and Punishments for Behaviors
    George Kelly Cognitive Self-Reflection, Perception and Interpretation Impact on Behavior
    Albert Bandura Social Learning Human Capabilities, Structural Framework, Thinking Processes
    Walter Mischel Social Learning Social Variables Explain Human Complexities, Delayed Gratification
    Gordon Allport Trait Focus on Positive, Traits are Permanent
    Raymond Cattell Trait Factor Analytic Trait Theory, 16 Source Traits
    Hans Eysenck Trait Three Factor Theory, Introversion-Extroversion, Neuroticism, Psychoticism

    Most of these names familiar. Maslow and others not on this list; I don't know why not.

    Certainly these psychologists. And I infer plenty of observation, though agnostic on the quality of the interpretation thereof. And Pavlov, Watson, and Skinner arguably did some science, again agnostic on the quality of the science they did. But for this to be science, it has to connect to the scientific method somehow. If you can unequivocally make that connection, more power to you. My view, in brief from above, is that science is about replicable results from experiments. Psychology about speculative theorizing about things not adequately subject to experiment, and usually understood not to be.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    My view, in brief from above, is that science is about replicable results from experiments.tim wood

    Do you consider geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, ecology, astronomy, and oceanography to be sciences?
  • Shawn
    11.7k
    Science operates on the assumption that atoms do not understand atomic theory - in general that the objects of scientific study are not altered by the theory on has of them. At the quantum level, this becomes difficult because the act of observation itself affects the observed and this leads to the uncertainty principle. However, in psychology, the objects of observation are themselves observers, scientists, and psychological theorisers. Their theories of psychology radically affect their own psychology.unenlightened

    Is this subjectivism or relativism at its core? Just wondering, unenlightened-dono.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    Do you consider geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, ecology, astronomy, and oceanography to be sciences?T Clark
    Yep. But what of it? The question is to psychology.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    Yep. But what of it? The question is to psychology.tim wood

    You wrote previously.

    My view, in brief from above, is that science is about replicable results from experiments.tim wood

    The sciences I listed do not generally have "replicable results from experiments" any more than psychology does. These are called "observational sciences." Here is some text from an article in American Scientist. I don't offer this as proof, but rather as a description of what I'm talking about.

    191zxlzcbmr8jw39.png

    I think we both agree that there is some work in psychology which matches the description of experimental science, but much doesn't.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    If they are supposed to have that same measure of legal power, then psychologists should get their act together and agree on one theory and enforce it, one objective system of measurement.baker

    Well for a start they have the DSM, but aside from that, I really don't see how further unifying the criteria (even if it could be done) will help reduce either stigma or false diagnoses, you'll have to lay out for me a bit more clearly how you see that working.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    once you have granted the principle, which seems obvious enough, that people (and societies) are altered by the prevailing psychology of the time, which you seem not to dispute in principle, then it is but a semblance. What is clear enough, surely, is that electrons are not affected significantly by the theories we have about them, but people most certainly are. this means that if there is something like an understanding of the human psyche to be had, it is not of the same order as physics.unenlightened

    Indeed. Psychology has a unique challenge in that respect with regards to the small proportion of its theories that become part of mainstream culture. Still not seeing an argument that this challenge renders the entire field unscientific. As you rightly pointed out, physics is facing a similar challenge, is physics thereby rendered unscientific?
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    I find online this list of psychologists along with a comment on their field:tim wood

    The very title of the web page shows that you fond a list of 'personality theorists', not a list of psychologists. His are we to take this as anything less than willful ignorance in the light of the post above where I already showed you the error in your definition?

    And for all your pretence at philosophy, you've yet to address the very basic counter argument I raised at first.

    If all you've got is that some of psychology is unscientific ,then you have, by fundamental logic, failed to make the case that psychology sensu lato is unscientific. Again, it's really hard to infer anything short of malice if you deliberately overlook such a fundamental logical principle in order to maintain your attack.
  • TheMadFool
    12k
    My view, in brief from above, is that science is about replicable results from experiments. Psychology about speculative theorizing about things not adequately subject to experiment, and usually understood not to be.tim wood

    :up: Psychology is exactly as you describe it - more, some even might want to say mere, speculation than anything substantive. A poster even compared Jung's psychology to mysticisim and to tell you the truth that such a comparison is possible speaks volumes about the lack of credibility vis-à-vis psychology taken as a whole.

    Coming to Freud, the alleged person who put psychology on the map, one only needs to look at how his theory is centered around the so-called Oedipus complex. Oedipus being the perfect analogy for Freud's theories is a dead giveaway - psychology is simply mythology in modern form.
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    Is this subjectivism or relativism at its core?Shawn

    I'm not one for 'isms - call it what you like. But my philosophy always prioritises the relation as fundamental; the observer and the observed are both united and only exist in the observation. The observation is reality; the observer and the observed are 'aspects'.

    Science is about the observed aspect with the observer's influence 'stripped out, and psychology is about the observer with the world stripped out. Neither has a complete grasp of reality, but psychology falls apart rather quicker when it pretends to be science. Science is the selfless observation of the world, and one cannot have a selfless observation of the self.
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