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“Western Civilization” Greek Empire (300-100 BC) is the foundation of Roman Empire (100 BC to 400 AD). The revival of Greek knowledge is also the root.

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Presentation on theme: "“Western Civilization” Greek Empire (300-100 BC) is the foundation of Roman Empire (100 BC to 400 AD). The revival of Greek knowledge is also the root."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Western Civilization” Greek Empire (300-100 BC) is the foundation of Roman Empire (100 BC to 400 AD). The revival of Greek knowledge is also the root of the Renaissance (1450- 1600 AD), which ends the “Dark Ages” and “Middle Ages” (400-1450 AD).

2 Non-Greek Ancient Perspectives Early Chinese Perspectives Early psychological thought was anchored to a larger worldview surrounding the number five. The Chinese accepted five basic elements (wood, fire, metal, earth, and water) as well as five senses, five colors, five emotions, five basic human relationships, and so on. Confucius was a great humanistic philosopher who investigated human relationships among other topics.

3 The Chinese Hsün Tzu was compared with Aristotle as a naturalist who emphasized the regularity and orderliness of nature. Yin and Yang are both opposite and complementary forces. Yang is associated with force, hardness, heat, dryness, and masculinity. Yin is associated with weakness, softness, cold, moistness, and femininity. Equilibrium between Yin and Yang is essential to physical and psychological health. The Chinese opened the door to physiological psychology with their belief that mental processes are central and are associated with the physical body.

4 The Babylonians Babylonia influenced the intellectual traditions of the Greeks, Egyptians, Jews, and Arabs. The Babylonians recognized many Gods and devils, and they emphasized demonological methods as a diagnosis and a treatment of physical and mental illnesses.

5 The Egyptians Egyptian psychology was deeply intertwined with the polytheistic Egyptian religions and the emphasis on immortality and life after death. Although the Egyptians appear to be the first to describe the brain, they most often viewed the heart as the seat of mental life. By the way, women attained greater status among Egyptians than among most other ancient peoples.

6 Other Eastern Philosophies Thinkers in India, as reflected in the Vedas and the Upanishads, investigated knowledge and desire, among many other topics. Hebrew philosophy and psychology must be understood in light of radical monotheism. Humans have two sides, a biological, self-serving side and a spiritual side capable of serving the larger community. The Hebrews had well-developed notions of mental disorders that were attributed to the anger of God or human disobedience.

7 Other Eastern Philosophies Persia was the birthplace of the Zoroastrian religion based on the teachings of Zarathustra and the holy book Avesta. Zoroastrianism is the first monotheistic religion recorded in history; flourished until the Muslim conquest of Persia. Human beings were the testing grounds of good and evil, and mental and physical disorders were viewed as the work of the devil; demonological diagnoses and treatments were common.

8 The Golden Age of Greece As was discussed in the previous lecture, the Greek philosophers, primarily Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, are commonly considered the intellectual foundation of Western Civilization (450- 300 b.c.) This historical period is known as the Golden Age of Greece

9 The Golden Age of Greece Socrates argued against relativism; he claimed that through reason we can discern objective truths. Knowledge is virtue, and ignorance results from evil. We may all have limited knowledge, but Socrates claimed to be somewhat wiser than some in that he was aware of his own ignorance. To paraphrase, it’s not what you know but what you don’t know that matters most. (Popper’s notion of falsifiability?) Plato was a student of Socrates before forming the Academy, his own school. Early Platonic dialogues reflect the early teachings of Socrates, later dialogues show more of Plato’s original thought.

10 Plato Revealed Plato argued that our senses provide only illusion and that reason can provide true knowledge. Plato reconciled the assertions of Parmenides (two views of reality: Truth vs. Opinion) and Heraclitus (doctrine of change: “you can not step twice into the same river”) in his theory of forms. The temporal and changing world of becoming we perceive with our senses derives its meaning from a world of being and from forms that are timeless, immutable, and unextended. Plato discusses psuche, usually translated as “soul” or “mind” in numerous works that extend over years of his life. He speaks of a tripartite mind including the appetitive soul, the affective soul, and the rational soul.

11 Plato Revealed For Plato, learning is the remembering of the true knowledge of forms from before our birth into a human body. Plato discussed sensory function and perception and emphasized pleasure and pain in the motivations of humans. (Behaviorism?) Plato argued that mental illnesses may be associated with irrational drives, discord among parts of the soul, or ignorance. (Freud?) Love can take several forms for Plato, ranging in a hierarchy from erotic love to love of knowledge through philosophy.

12 Aristotle Aristotle was a student of Plato who, after leaving the Academy at Plato’s death, founded his own school, the Lyceum. Aristotle was an empiricist who approached the problem of causality in four ways (see chapter 2). Aristotle argued for hylomorphism in his description of the mind and the body as interdependent. “Hylo” is from “hule” meaning matter and “morphe” meaning form.

13 More About Aristotle In De Anima, Aristotle’s classic work on the soul, Aristotle attributes to the soul a nutritive function, sensitive and movement functions, and, in humans, reason. Memory, for Aristotle, is a passive process while recollection is active. He provided an associationist view of memory emphasizing the roles of similarity, contrast, contiguity, and frequency in memory. (20 th theories of learning in psychology) Aristotle maintained that the sensing of objects actualizes stimuli through a range of different media (with a different medium for each sense) to our sense organs, and he addressed perceptual illusions in his discussions of the senses.

14 More About Aristotle Thinking, for Aristotle, is rooted in perception and in objects of the world, but thinking may be flawed. Imagination does not have the corrective influence of the external world and allows greater freedom of thought. Additionally, Aristotle advocated a naturalistic approach to dreams. While he recognized the importance of pleasure and pain in human motivation, Aristotle advocated a “golden mean” between the extremes of human activity.

15 And More Aristotle He recognized four factors that affected human ability to achieve the good life: individual differences, habit, social supports, and freedom of choice. Psychological thought after Aristotle moved from a pursuit of knowledge to a pursuit of gratification and the determination of what constitutes a good life.

16 Aristotle’s Hierarchy of Souls Vegetative (nutritive) Soul - possessed by plants; allows only growth, assimilation of food, and reproduction. Sensitive Soul - possessed by animals but not plants; organisms with a sensitive soul sense and respond to the environment, experience pleasure and pain, and have a memory. Rational Soul - possessed only by humans; adds thinking and rational thought to the functions of the other two souls.

17 Aristotle and Psychology Three distinct contributions to psychology: 1. Provided the first organized system for studying the soul, using both empirical and rational assumptions about living organism. 2. In defining the soul and its roles, provided the earliest foundation for dualism of soul and body. 3. Outlined a method for describing and interpreting human experience in concrete terms.

18 Plato vs. Aristotle Plato – essences (truths) could be found in forms that existed independently of nature by looking inward (introspection). Aristotle – essences could be known only by studying nature. Plato – primary principles come from pure thought; all knowledge existed independently of nature. Aristotle – primary principles (premises) were attained by examining nature; nature and knowledge were inseparable.

19 Plato vs. Aristotle Plato endorsed the importance of mathematics. For Aristotle mathematics were essentially useless, instead he proposed the careful examination of nature through observation and classification. Aristotle, as we have noted in previous lectures, was the “champion” of Causation and Teleology.


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