8: Psychology & Science



Key Terms

Topographical Model of the Self
Structural Model of the Self

  • Read and analyze a description of philosophical thought
  • Articulate key conceptual distinctions between contemporary notions of the self
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Freud’s views on the unconscious and divisions of the self, Behaviorism and Physicalism.

I. Freud

  • A. Contributions to Psychology 
    • Psychoanalysis
    • Dream Theory
    • Free association
    • Transference
    • Repression
  • B. Topographical Model of the Self
    • Thought takes place in 3 different areas of the mind
    • The conscious
      • Rational, practical, appropriate thoughts
      • Governed by “reality principle”
    • The preconscious
      • Thoughts that are unconscious but not repressed
      • Recallable memories
    • The unconscious
      • Instinctual, primitive, inappropriate thoughts
      • Governed by “pleasure principle”
  • C. Structural Model of the Self
    • Mental functioning occurs in 3 areas
    • Id (It)
      • Instinctual, primitive, inappropriate thoughts
      • Governed by “pleasure principle”
    • Ego (Self)
      • Unconscious and conscious
      • Governed by “reality principle”
      • Mediates between Id and Superego
      • Uses defense mechanisms to cope
    • Superego (Over-Self)
      • Unconscious and conscious
      • Aims for perfection
      • Conscience
    • Similar to Plato’s division of the soul into Reason, Spirit, and Appetite

II. Behaviorism

  • A. Gilbert Ryle
    • Response to Cartesian dualism
    • Focus only on observable behaviors
    • No inner self, no immortal soul, no conscious/unconscious self
  • B. What is the nature of the self?
    • Dualism is speculation
    • There is no “ghost in the machine”
  • C. Category Mistake
    • It is a category mistake to think of the self as existing apart from observable behaviors
    • The self is a pattern of behavior
  • D. Problems with Behaviorism
    • Explain love behaviorally
    • The importance of physical connection. E.g. The Headache Example

II. Physicalism


The chief drawback of dualism is its failure to account adequately for mental causation.

  • A. Understanding Physicalism
    • Physicalism argues all aspects of the universe are composed of matter and energy and can be explained by physical laws
    • Mental states are reducible to physical brain states
    • There is no immaterial self independent of the brain or body
  • B. Functionalism - Fodor
    • Functionalism acknowledges mental states that connect sensory stimulation and observable behavior
    • Called mental states, activities and processes
    • Not about the physical makeup of the brain, but how it functions
  • C. Eliminative Materalism - Churchland
    • To fully understand the mind (self), we must understand the brain
    • Science will eventually be able to quantify the nature of consciousness and provide a link from beliefs to the physiological functioning of the brain
    • Because of this new development, new neuroscience-based vocabulary is required to express how we think about the mind
    • The mental states common sense has given us (belief, desire, fear, etc.) do not even exist as we understand them
    • They are based on a folk psychology, not science
    • This folk psychology muddles our understanding of the human experience

Logic Week 8: False Dilemma and Straw Man