Introspection vs Behaviourism

Topics: Psychology, Mind, Philosophy of mind Pages: 3 (862 words) Published: July 7, 2011
So, should psychology study things and hypothesize about things that are not directly observable? Before I begin my argument I want to point out that the word "psychology" is the combination of two terms - study (ology) and soul (psyche), or mind. The derivation of the word from Latin gives it this clear and obvious meaning: The study of the soul or mind. I believe that Behaviourists such as Watson wished to alter the meaning of the word ‘psychology’ because it was not sufficient or capable of answering the metaphysical questions such as “what is the mind?” and “what is consciousness?” They believed that the discipline could only be effective or ‘scientific’ if every hypothetical question could be operationalized and therefore quantified, precisely measured and replicated. I feel that in regards to how psychology should be defined and conducted, the Zeitgeist of today has changed little since the time of this debate; the definition of science is an important element of it. Leonardo da Vinci sketched flying mechanisms 300 years before they were ‘operational’ long before anyone could fathom humans flying through the skies, although psychology hasn’t answered the mind/body problem yet does not mean it won’t. Watson claimed there is no place in psychology for the ‘mind’; he felt they should take the ‘psych’ out of psychology. Does it not follow that he was suggesting that it doesn’t exist, therefore why strive to uncover its mysteries or hypothesize on its nature? How is that different than saying that if you can’t imagine it, it must not exist? Think of the first time an isolated tribe in Amazonia perceived an airplane flying overhead. Assume that they could distinguish its nature as an unnatural object zooming through their skies. Before that time they could not fathom how such a thing could exist in their reality, yet here it was directly observable; it was just a matter of time. Again I agree with MacDougall; why should Psychology be so concerned with being...
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