Philosophy and Psychology
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|. |Philosophy can mean different things |
| |Sometimes philosophers deal with questions of truth and sometimes with questions of goodness ; |
| |sometimes they offer consolation for life’s sorrows and sometimes they are purely pragmatic. In |
| |the philosophy of science, a theory may be valued only for its predictive capability ; its truth |
| |or falsity may be ...view middle of the document...
Philosophy separated from psychology in the nineteenth century, under the need to put logic and logical analysis on a mathematical basis. However, logic is only one of the two tools that are needed for analytical thinking. The other tool is the ability to observe the associations between ideas – this tool is a psychological one. Hence effective thinking in philosophy requires both rational and psychological forms of analytical ability. The nineteenth-century separation of philosophy from psychology removed much of the content from British philosophy and gradually put it to sleep. I put the two disciplines back together again. So hopefully the long winter of hibernation is coming to an end. [¹].
What is the relation between these two disciplines ?
The way that I have consistently experienced it is that psychology limits philosophy : psychology sets the boundaries within which philosophy can range. The narrower the range of a person's psychological understanding of life, so correspondingly will the authentic range of his philosophy also be narrow. Without an adequate understanding of life, so the thinker is dependent on imagination and prejudice when trying to stretch his ideas to fit aspects of reality that he has never experienced.
Within a perspective that emphasises the qualitative features of life we will find that philosophy provides most of the framework and psychology provides much of the content. The effectiveness of philosophy to define a qualitative approach to life rests on its analysis of psychology : this enables the individual to create himself within the context of his historical situation.
the purpose of philosophy is to abstract what is valid from all realms of value so as to enable the person to create his or her own identity ; the historical situation determines what is holistically possible.
The results of such philosophical analysis should be consistent with the empirical results of psychology.
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Metaphysics and Logic
The highest realm of thought for man is that of metaphysics. Since man is a part of this realm he can approach metaphysics through his own understanding of life. Metaphysics is not theology. Man cannot know god but he can understand concepts that concern the nature of reality and being. Metaphysics deals with the creativity and destructiveness within creation, with the purpose and the meaning of evolution, and the way that it functions. Man enters into metaphysical discourse when he creates values and meanings. [²]
All conceptions of reality are based on metaphysical ideas.
Even within orthodox science, concepts such as force (for example: electricity, magnetism, gravitation) and laws of causation are metaphysical concepts : their existence can never be verified directly, but only indirectly through their effects. [³]