• Isaac
    5.3k
    Psychology is exactly as you describe itTheMadFool

    For fuck's sake.

    https://www.psychol.cam.ac.uk/research/research-centres

    What of that list looks anything even vaguely resembling Jung and Freud.

    Do you people bother to do even a shred of research before vomiting up your ad hoc reckons?
  • Yohan
    254
    So psychology is a pseudo-science, soft science, non-science?
    Which is it?
    If psychology is not scientific at all, does that mean there are no psychological facts?
    If so, how do you explain psychological patterns? Eg, research shows overwhelmingly that serial killers are psychopaths. Is "psychopathy" just a theory?
    This is starting to sound like an anti-science person who says evolution is "just a theory"
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    So psychology is a pseudo-science, soft science, non-science?
    Which is it?
    Yohan

    Most people are embodied minds. This might be confusing some. There is a totally legitimate science of the body as object, which I like to call physiology, brain science, and so on.

    The mind is not a physical object. Thus psyche is not amenable to scientific study; rather it requires insight. It is the absence of insight that makes this appear controversial obscure and difficult to make sense of. The education system teaches the ignoring and denying of insight as "unscientific" - which of course it is.
  • Isaac
    5.3k


    Well said. Apart from the rather nebulous use of 'insight', I couldn't agree more.

    As can be seen clearly from the research the Cambridge School of Psychology includes in its remit (cited above), Psychology studies both the psyche and its assumed substrate.
  • TheMadFool
    12k
    For fuck's sake.

    https://www.psychol.cam.ac.uk/research/research-centres

    What of that list looks anything even vaguely resembling Jung and Freud.

    Do you people bother to do even a shred of research before vomiting up your ad hoc reckons?
    Isaac

    I said what I wanted to say. It's obvious that psychology is far from being a science at par with physics or even for that matter biology. Why else all the controversy surrounding its scientific status? No smoke without fire is how I see it.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    I said what I wanted to say.TheMadFool

    Did you think that was in some doubt?

    It's obvious that psychology is far from being a science at par with physics or even for that matter biology. Why else all the controversy surrounding its scientific status? No smoke without fire is how I see it.TheMadFool

    What an utterly stupid thing to say - your chosen side in any controversy is automatically right simply by virtue of there being a controversy.
  • TheMadFool
    12k
    What an utterly stupid thing to say - your chosen side in any controversy is automatically right simply by virtue of there being a controversy.Isaac

    Why is it stupid wrong?

    Criteria for accepting expert testimony:

    1. The expert must be unbiased
    2. The expert's comments must be limited to his area of expertise
    3. The expert must be reliable
    4. There should be consensus among experts (no controversy)

    Ergo, if experts don't see eye to eye on an issue, here psychology, I'm warranted to doubt the claims of psychologists that what they're doing is science.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    Ergo, if experts don't see eye to eye on an issue, here psychology, I'm warranted to doubt the claims of psychologists that what they're doing is science.TheMadFool

    1. Quote an expert claiming that the whole of psychology is not a science and we might then have something to go off, other wise bringing up expert testimony is useless.

    2. "I'm warranted to doubt the claims of psychologists that what they're doing is science" is not the same as "psychology is simply mythology in modern form" is it? Not by a very long margin.

    If there were an expert in the field who claimed that the whole of psychology was not a science, then you would have cause to doubt that the whole of psychology is not a science. Since you've neither provided such an expert, not limited your claims to just doubt I can't see what relevance your little syllogism might have to the matter at hand.
  • Yohan
    254
    The mind is not a physical object. Thus psyche is not amenable to scientific study; rather it requires insight. It is the absence of insight that makes this appear controversial obscure and difficult to make sense of. The education system teaches the ignoring and denying of insight as "unscientific" - which of course it is.unenlightened
    I don't get why it has to be one or the other. By observing people's behavior and analysing it, and testing my analyses, I can arrive at insights, indirectly, about the psyche. There is no strict formula for arriving at a discovery. It requires both rigor as well as flexibility. It's an art and a science. I think this is true of any field of inquiry.
    Only replication is strictly rigorous.

    And it seems like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. If psychology can't be a strict science, then it is merely an art? Or what would you call it? A path to insight?
  • Corvus
    963
    I feel that there are some topics in psychology that science cannot handle such as the problem of self or subconsciousness or explanation on the premonitions and etc. They are studied and explained in the mystic approaches like from Freud and Jung's.

    But there are definitely topics that can be and must be tackled in scientific methods such as diagnosing depression anxiety problems. For these problems, they carry out lots of scientific experiments and tests on the mass of people with the suspected symptoms. They have the clearly and fully established theories to the causes, symptoms and also possible treatments for the problems. In that regard, it is a fully established science.

    Psychology is a wide area with the large number of different topics, branches of disciplines and schools. Some are classic mysticism forms, and some are fully scientific. A diverse and flexible subject.
  • TheMadFool
    12k
    1. Quote an expert claiming that the whole of psychology is not a science and we might then have something to go off, other wise bringing up expert testimony is useless.Isaac

    I'm sorry, I'm too tired to search for references to that effect. Suffice it to say they exist and a Google search will take you to numerous criticisms of psychology especially on the matter of its pretence to science.

    2. "I'm warranted to doubt the claims of psychologists that what they're doing is science" is not the same as "psychology is simply mythology in modern form" is it? Not by a very long margin.Isaac

    That's a distinction without a difference. If it isn't science and some explanatory theory is being posited, it's just mythology in disguise. Psychology is a giant leap indeed but unfortunately backwards to a time before Thales of Miletus when myths dominated the lives of people.

    If there were an expert in the field who claimed that the whole of psychology was not a science, then you would have cause to doubt that the whole of psychology is not a science. Since you've neither provided such an expert, not limited your claims to just doubt I can't see what relevance your little syllogism might have to the matter at hand.Isaac

    Google. The truth is out there.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    failed to make the case that psychology sensu lato is unscientific.Isaac
    What, generally, then, do you say is the subject matter of psychology? And how is it done scientifically? With science being understood as employing scientific method.

    As to the personality theorists, you may not consider them psychologists, but the rest of the world including psychologists consider them psychologists, and what they were doing as psychology.

    But you may be correct. I judge psychology by the company it keeps and whom it lives with. And perhaps you judge the whole by some of its parts.
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    the rather nebulous use of 'insight'Isaac

    I have to use the language we have, but I'll try and concretise it a bit for you. Science begins and ends with observation, and in the middle is knowledge, theory, hypothesis records etc. Observation demands the separation of observer and observed. I could call it "out-sight".

    Insight can be contrasted as demanding the unity of observer and observed. Thus, if I notice that someone is identified with 'psychology' and gets angry and defensive when it is questioned or criticised, that is an observation; whereas if I notice my own defensiveness and identification, that is insight. But I must be careful here, because it is easy to misunderstand. I can make such observations of myself in memory; looking back in the thread I might see something like that, but it would not then be an insight. Insight is in the present because the observer is the observed, an awareness of awareness that does not separate. My defensiveness notices itself.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    So psychology is a pseudo-science, soft science, non-science?Yohan

    Psychology is science, observational science.

    This is starting to sound like an anti-science person who says evolution is "just a theory"Yohan

    Although you are overstating the case, there is some truth in what you've written.
  • dimosthenis9
    353


    For me psychology and philosophy go hand by hand. The similarities, in the issues they both deal with (even in a different way), are way to much from any other field. Their main field of exploration is human.That's their common center. The more we know about psychology, the better philosophical theories we can propose. For me since historically philosophy came first. I see psychology as a child of philosophy. It's the wonder of the unknown that fuelled philosophy genesis and same happened with psychology also. The curiosity!

    Is it a science? I wonder the same too. Don't know. I will put another question though. Can philosophy be considered as a science too then? I think the main problem with psychology and its role, is that it deals with an extreme vague issue. Soul.I had opened a discussion here,some time ago,about Spirit, and one of the main things that I noticed from the answers, was that most people don't believe neither at Spirit or Soul existence.
    So how can they consider psychology as a science if they actually don't recognize the main issue that psychology deals with. Soul!
    I will disagree with what mentioned about psychology's Einstein. There was and was Freud. Or should I call him Jordan of psychology for making it so famous? In any case, for me at least, he is a great philosopher also. And I think that says a lot about how close connected psychology and philosophy are.
  • Ying
    331
    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.TheMadFool

    This is like basing your entire opinion regarding philosophy on just Parmenides or something. Both his contemporaries and his succesors where involved in entirely different projects.
    Freuds work can be seen as being in line (as in: line of inquiry) with the project started by von Krafft-Ebbing, what with his focus on sexual psychopathology... Both William James and Wilhelm Wundt where active during the same period, and their lines of inquiry involved the first experimental psychological laboratories. Neither actually had anything to do with psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis might have been in vogue for a while, but this was later replaced by behaviorism as the dominant paradigm. There also is the line which eventually lead to gestalt psychology (Brentano> von Ehrenfels> Wertheimer> Koffka> Kohler...), and these boys didn't have anything to do with psychoanalysis either. But sure, mythology. Even though they mostly talk about phenomenological accounts of sensory perception.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    I'm sorry, I'm too tired to search for references to that effect.TheMadFool

    If you can't be bothered to defend your defamation of an entire field of research, perhaps consider not publishing it.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    What, generally, then, do you say is the subject matter of psychology? And how is it done scientifically? With science being understood as employing scientific method.tim wood

    As I said to @unenlightened, and have clearly evidenced using the example of Cambridge School of Psychology, psychology considers itself the study of the human psyche, including it's assumed substrate (the central nervous system). What you or I say is it's proper subject is immaterial.

    As to the personality theorists, you may not consider them psychologists, but the rest of the world including psychologists consider them psychologists, and what they were doing as psychology.tim wood

    I do indeed consider them psychologists. Your claim was not that psychology has aspects which are unscientific, your claim was that the whole of psychology is unscientific, as such, seeking out what you knew in advance was a specific subset of psychology for your evidence was biased at best, if not deliberately disingenuous.

    I judge psychology by the company it keeps and whom it lives with. And perhaps you judge the whole by some of its parts.tim wood

    I judge the whole by all of its parts, as would seem the rational thing to do. As such the conclusion is that psychology is a mixture of scientific and non-scientific approaches (as well as some in between). The company it keeps is irrelevant, else philosophy is damned by no less a sin.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    if I notice that someone is identified with 'psychology' and gets angry and defensive when it is questioned or criticised, that is an observationunenlightened

    Are anger and defensiveness not aspects of the psyche? You seem to be saying here that you can do psychology but psychologists can't. I think I understood you better before the explanation!

    I must be careful here, because it is easy to misunderstand. I can make such observations of myself in memory; looking back in the thread I might see something like that, but it would not then be an insight.unenlightened

    I agree with the sentiment, it's something central to much of my work, that we only really know our own thoughts through the memory of having them (which is necessarily modulated by cultural narratives - but that's a whole other story). But the way you've phrased it here seems to leave that which you define as 'insight', very little to do. Observing the psyche of others ( or inferring it from behaviour) is not insight, neither is analysis of one's own thoughts (necessarily post hoc recollections). What's left?

    I thought you meant something more like a gut feeling - 'insight' as in the building of castles in the air, hoping there's some foundations for them. That's where I see the study of psyche, a feeling about in the dark, with much speculation on the form of that which one is grasping blind. But even here, I find it hard to see how good attempts at limiting confounding factors and good statistical analysis isn't going to be at least an improvement on mere armchair speculation.

    The thing about psychology (as opposed to other speculative enterprises like, say, evolutionary biology), is that one has to have a theory. We can't just postpone speculation until we've honed the method to a properly scientific one, we interact with other people all the time, we make decision which affect them. Every time we do this we do so on the basis of some theory about their psyche which dictates how we think they'll respond. So we can't do without psychology, we're all psychologists. It's just a question of whether we can do anything to even slightly improve the utility of our models.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    observational science.T Clark
    Don't know what that is. I observe. Do I observe scientifically? What would that be? And how, exactly, scientific? And what then? I theorize. Is that scientific? And so forth.
  • Shawn
    11.7k
    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'.unenlightened

    Aspects of what? Aspect of a relation?

    Science is the selfless observation of the world, and one cannot have a selfless observation of the self.unenlightened

    I'm not entirely sure why; but, Buddhism seems like a way of life originating from a selfless observation of the self by Buddha. Why isn't Buddhism more popular in psychology?
  • Pinprick
    767
    Psychology certainly does repeated experiments following the scientific method. Things like the Stroop Effect and Change Blindness qualify as scientific phenomena/facts, no?
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    Are anger and defensiveness not aspects of the psyche? You seem to be saying here that you can do psychology but psychologists can't. I think I understood you better before the explanation!Isaac

    Yes, you probably did. :cry:

    Well you are the psychologist; perhaps you should say what is the psyche. But from my side, I would say that what one can observe is behaviour and perhaps brain imagery with equipment, and these are not psyche. Psyche is inner; psyche is the immediacy, the presence that makes the present present.

    Aspects of what? Aspect of a relation?Shawn

    Yes of course aspects of the relation that is observation.

    I'm not entirely sure why; but, Buddhism seems like a way of life originating from a selfless observation of the self from Buddha. Why isn't Buddhism more popular in psychology?Shawn

    I'm not sure if you are just using words slightly differently here. I am trying to be clear and consistent in the way I use them, so I would say that meditation should be a practicing of presence, what I am calling insight rather than observation. If one observes oneself in the normal way of observing, one has to separate oneself from the self one observes.

    There is some interest in buddhist practices in current psychology, but I do not think there is much understanding. They want to measure enlightenment. :death:
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    Don't know what that is. I observe. Do I observe scientifically? What would that be? And how, exactly, scientific? And what then? I theorize. Is that scientific? And so forth.tim wood

    You're responding to a post I made to Yohan. Did you read my previous post to you where I discussed that?

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/568425

    I didn't see any response from you on that. I'll take one more shot at this and then I'm done.

    • You said "science is about replicable results from experiments."

    • I asked "Do you consider geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, ecology, astronomy, and oceanography to be sciences?"

    • You responded "Yep."

    • I noted that the sciences listed are observational sciences, i.e. they are primarily descriptive and do not usually provide "replicable results from experiments."

    There is a contradiction here.

    As I said, I'm done with this discussion for now. I've laid out my definitions and arguments and you've waved your arms and repeated your claims without addressing what I've written.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    do you consider geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, ecology, astronomy, and oceanography to be sciences?T Clark

    I thought an engineer might know better. In all of these "hard" science is done, with close observation and various kinds of laboratory analysis. How, for example, do we know that what is now Australia long ago was a short walk from Spokane, WA? Not by casual speculation or idle observation, but by chemical analysis of bits of sand from the two regions. Turns out to be the same sand! Paleontology? How about carbon and other ways of dating. Evolutionary biology? By the presence and juxtaposition of similarities and differences in animals separated by millennia. Ecology? how about chemistry. Astronomy? Mathematics, physics, and close and careful observation. Oceanography? Chemistry and physics.

    Psychology?

    And you read RGC. His criticisms are dated, c. 1920s, but the same wind blows. His chap. XII, "A Pseudo-Science Refutes Itself." And elsewhere throughout the book.
  • TheMadFool
    12k
    If you can't be bothered to defend your defamation of an entire field of research, perhaps consider not publishing it.Isaac

    Just pointing you in the right direction as I did would be doing you a big favor - you would be disabused of your erroneous view that psychology has anything worthwhile. As I mentioned earlier and as some other posters have already mentioned psychology resembles mysticism and mythology and that's like someone telling you that you look like a monkey - definitely not a compliment.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    I thought an engineer might know better. In all of these "hard" science is done, with close observation and various kinds of laboratory analysis. How, for example, do we know that what is now Australia long ago was a short walk from Spokane, WA? Not by casual speculation or idle observation, but by chemical analysis of bits of sand from the two regions. Turns out to be the same sand! Paleontology? How about carbon and other ways of dating. Evolutionary biology? By the presence and juxtaposition of similarities and differences in animals separated by millennia. Ecology? how about chemistry. Astronomy? Mathematics, physics, and close and careful observation. Oceanography? Chemistry and physics.tim wood

    This is really pitiful.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    I do indeed consider them psychologists. Your claim was not that psychology has aspects which are unscientific, your claim was that the whole of psychology is unscientific,Isaac

    Get a can of blue paint, paint a wall blue and claim it's blue and the world will agree. Mix the blue with yellow, paint the wall and claim it's blue and the world will tell you it's green. Or paint it in alternate blue and yellow stripes and claim it's blue and the world will again note the error.

    In this metaphor blue is science and the wall is psychology. The wall is not all blue, and in places not blue at all. As such, psychology being the wall, as the wall is not blue, psychology is not science. It's that simple. No one I know of says that no psychology is scientific in nature, but only that the methods of psychology that mark it as psychology are not that of science.

    You're the one with the category problems.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    Well you are the psychologist; perhaps you should say what is the psyche.unenlightened

    Fair enough.

    from my side, I would say that what one can observe is behaviour and perhaps brain imagery with equipment, and these are not psyche. Psyche is inner; psyche is the immediacy, the presence that makes the present present.unenlightened

    This is only what I would call awareness. Psyche, as far as Psychology is concerned is the entire set of functions carried out to derive behaviour from external stimuli (or internal ones, depending which school you follow). We take observations of external stimuli, observations of behaviour and then use models of psyche to make predictions about the relationship, test those predictions and refine the models accordingly. Nowadays, these models are mostly pre-refined by ensuring they fit within the confines of what neuroscience tells us is possible.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    Get a can of blue paint, paint a wall blue and claim it's blue and the world will agree. Mix the blue with yellow, paint the wall and claim it's blue and the world will tell you it's green. Or paint it in alternate blue and yellow stripes and claim it's blue and the world will again note the error.tim wood

    Please, you're embarrassing yourself.

    Blue=research with scientific methodology.
    Yellow=research with unscientific methodology.
    Paint the wall both yellow and blue in stripes. The wall's not blue (scientific) - genius. It's not fucking yellow either is it? Moron.
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