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Sandra Lapointe

Discover Psychology Lecture Four, Friday January 13, 2017

Psychology Building – 155,  3:00 to 4:00 pm

Historical Perspectives on the Study of Mind


While History of Psychology remains a curriculum requirement in most Psychology Departments in North America, the role it plays in students’ training or academic research is at best marginal. By contrast, the history of the philosophical study of mind is an intrinsic part of any philosophical training. Arguably, the difference between psychologists and philosophers’ stance on the significance of history reflects broad differences in some of their respective methodological commitments. Psychology is driven by a commitment to the same empirical methods that are at the heart of other natural sciences and, as such, its object is conceived as a-historical. By contrast, it is often assumed that philosophy is not (or not exclusively, depending on who you ask) committed to the method of the natural sciences. Such assumptions tend to obscure the nature of the connection between the two disciplines and leads to perplexing proposal. For instance, in recent work, some have suggested that psychology would benefit from reassessing scientistic standards for psychology and suggest that psychology should become less scientistic and adopt more perspectives from the humanities. (Brock 2016, 251) Such proposals misunderstand the nature of the connection between philosophy and psychology. Psychology has deep historical connection to philosophy and the same kinds of connections are at the heart of current cross-disciplinary research on, e.g. perception, emotions and communication. I want to illustrate how better understanding of the common history of our respective disciplines is relevant to determining their potential for collaboration in the future.

Coffee & cookies served at 2:45 pm

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Date(s) - January 13, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

McMaster University, Psychology Building


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