Should We Make Every Choice Scientifically?

Psychology, the science of mental events, has grappled from the start with a critical question of moral neutrality. The science of psychology with its ideal of the impassive observer began as a branch of philosophy in the latter decades of the 19th century. In the United States William James, philosopher and close friend of Charles Peirce, was recognized as an originator of psychology. But philosophy including that of James and Peirce raises questions of value-choices.

Are human thought and behavior best defined from a position of scientific neutrality? It should come as no surprise that psychology took just such a value-neutral turn in 20th century modernity. Continue reading “Should We Make Every Choice Scientifically?”

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Sometimes It’s Better to Be Stupid

Because of the concerted effort of therapists over 2 or 3 generations, scouring and shaping the collective human soul as steadily as ocean waves in ceaseless rows grind the beach sand, certain words and their associated ideas have eroded from recognition as we enter the 21st century.

One of those words is “stupid.” It’s a word that children should never hear, according to my son and daughter-in-law. And I know they are right. Continue reading “Sometimes It’s Better to Be Stupid”

The Will – Circa 1911

Victorian educators gave great attention to developing “the will” in students. By the early 20th century, “the will” began to disappear. The fledgling science of psychology demanded reproducible, publicly demonstrable effects, which do not fit the idea of will that periodically must “break these rules.” Continue reading “The Will – Circa 1911”