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nileriver
yes, being i am a psych major i have something to talk about biggrin.gif

so i bring this topic up, should psychology be a science or an art, there is a small debate going on over it, and i lean more towards it should be an art with an applied area or science part somewhere as well. I will lay these links down to help you decide for yourself.


link 1
link 2
link 3

psychology history
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Victoria Silverwolf
I would tend to suggest that psychiatry (the branch of medicine dealing with psychological disorders) should rely on the scientific model of healing, since this model has worked so well with somatic disorders. Great caution must be exercised, however, to avoid the assumption that medicine has all the answers, and that psychological disorders can be treated quickly and simply. It cannot be denied that recent discoveries in brain chemistry have led to great advances in the medical treatment of depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, among other disorders; however, it also cannot be denied that it is all too easy to diagnose too quickly and to prescribe powerful drugs without due caution.

To sum up: Psychology should be treated as a science, but with proper respect for the fact that it is a very imperfect science with grave consequences for its errors.
Hugo
It is a social science. Like all social sciences it studies the behavior of people, the most unpredictable force in the universe. I believe it is subject to politics. For years homosexuality was considered a disorder. It no longer is, probably partially due to new research but also partially due to new attitudes.
Bill55AZ
Certainly, as one of the Social Sciences, implying the human unpredictability factor is being added to the 'equation' that already has too many variables that the social sciences have to deal with.
As long as we are aware that much of it is still conjecture, that it rarely is able to cure anyone, that even treatment is typically dependent on drugs as opposed to better understanding of ourselves.
I would call it science in its infancy, and one of the last great frontiers or challenges for mankind.
I can't imagine anything more difficult than obtaining serious comprehension of the human mind.
Especially my own.
Gray Seal
My observation is the field of psychology is a scientific field. There are people in this specialty who have excellent skills at observing human behavior and developing models which define behavior and then successful predict future human behavior. There has been much learned as to what it takes to alter this behavior.

The main problem I see with psychology is the rather larger percentage of charlatans in the profession. Perhaps it is due to those with mental diseases are attracted to the field. Definitely, persons with their own personal agendas are filtering through the cracks to pollute the science aspects of psychology.

There is art in many health professions. Those who are very successful in the health profession are generally blessed with excellent intuitive skills. This is generally referred to as "art". Just as you and I can easily identify when someone has a cold, gifted medical doctors and psychologists can recognize much more complicated diseases without necessarily utilizing a plethora of diagnostic tools and tests.
Anarchy Praxis
Its obvious to me that psychology is a science but what is the end to which it is directed? Aristotle made a disignation between a pursuit in art (practical skill) and science (systematic thought), he said that we had to decide what we would pursue as an end, in and of itself and something that is a means to an end. We have to decide if psychology is an end, in and of itself or a means to an end before we classify it an art or science.

I took a look at the links and I have a couple of things Ill toss in here. Operationalism (measurement of variables) and determinism (invariance, unchanging laws) need to be balanced. Aristotle called this balance 'the mean' and he warned that you should be mindfull of the extremes that threaten to carry you away. In science you have to balance the constant and the variables like a ratio. I can elaborate on this but you get the idea.

Just one thing about determinism (aka hard determinism), the view that human choice is entirely controled by conditions or governed by causal laws. It sounds good in theory but you have to watch out for presumption, dont read too much into extraneous points of intereste. Not everything can be traced back to my relationship with my Mom. I also think there is a temptation here to manipulate people, especially en mass useing principles they are only dimly aware. The power of suggestion in marketing is what Im thinking about here. I think the bottom line here is you should determine what the end to which the art and science of psycology is directed.

I remember the famous experiment where people were directed to give increasing amonts of electricity to a subject for answering questions incorrectly. Most of the people in the study didnt mind turning the thing up to max when directed to do so. This state of mind is a respose to authority and Ive often wondered what the implication are.

Clearly psychology qualifies as a science but the approach of empirical science to accumulate and multiply the particulars before coming to general conculisions is streching this approach. Im suggesting that maybe its less empirical then we sometimes think and more subjective making it more unpredictable then, say math. It doesnt really qualify as an art unless you want to say its an end, in and of itself. I will suggest the end it is directed toward is mental health, at least as its final objective.
nileriver
yes, the end of human ignorance should be its means. That of truth in anything human is what psychology is about to me at anyrate, the field has grown into so many fields now its rather diffucult to understand it say the least, not only that but if you want to become a serious psychologist you have to gain a phd, that is not easy to say the least. The thing that i worry about is how the health or science side of psychology is becoming, like with apa rules and the bible of mental disorders and drugs to give them, i dont think that psychology is really doing its job, more or less it is giving out a quick fix because that is what people in certain places want.

The work performed on twins show that thier is biological influence in charecter and thought, but also that those same two areas are derived from social interaction and well just growing in time. If psychology only prescribes to standards of science in all aspects, i dont know how it will grow, in respects of what it will miss out on trying to just use the natrual science model.

Basically what i am saying is the field needs to understand that you cant just study thought like a chemical reaction in a lab all of the time, and that trying to be a hard science is not something that it should take to 100% all of the time.
Anarchy Praxis
Psychology is not like geometry that can evaluate relationships between shapes and distance between points empirically. There is a different approach to the human psyche then to mathmatics, one focuses on the external the other is more like introspection. The mind, will and emotions of human beings can be intangable, not everything is a chemical reaction. There is a presumption of naturalistic mechanism in science these days. Behavior, emotion and choices can be substantive without some material substance being isolated as its cause. Is there something substantive in the human psyche that lacks material substance? How could it be identified or is modern science inextricably linked to materialistic assumptions?

Psychology is science if and only if its theory is balanced with its practical elements. But thats just my opinion.

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bayside
I relate psychology to astrology. It seems to work, but there is no true science behind it. A psychologist has no clue about what is going on into someone mind. Psychologist and psychiatrist have been fooled many times. I see sociology as more of a science as Psychology. Can psychology explain why some have no willpower, or why some eat too much, smoke, drink or take drugs. Can psychology describe really what the ego is? Can psychology tell if I am lying or telling the truth. Nope. I like psychology and I find it very interesting, just as I like Astrology and find it also very interesting. Both describe behavior and possibility of behavior. The both help me to understand human a bit better. I take them both with a grain of salt. Humans are too complex to be reveal by psychology or by Astrology. Both have serious scientific flaws, but we are only as good as the tools we have. Many one day, we will realized that Atrology works.

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes. It asks and tries to answer questions about every aspect of life. Laws and public policy are influenced by psychologists theories and research. There are five main perspectives in the study of psychology: biological, behavioral, cognitive, psychoanalytical and phenomenological.

To make a long story short, psychoanalysis is very like astrology:
It's something a lot of people believe in, it makes sense to them, and
makes sense of their lives for them, but there is no more evidence that
it is true or even testable than there is for astrology.

Some astrologers claim that astrology is a science because it is based on empirical evidence: experience and observation. Quite simply, it seems to work. According to traditional definitions of science, astrology is scientific because it is a discipline which uses set rules to explain natural phenomena. Also, the Greek word 'scientia' simply means 'wisdom'. Some astrologers claim that traditional astrology is a science, while others want to create a new scientific astrology separate from traditional practices. However, modern scientific method usually requires that theories be tested through experiments under controlled conditions.
nileriver
i agree there is a certain amount of folklore when dealing with anything in trying to be on target with human thought or anything along those lines, neurobiology is another field to look into for more hard science of human behavior. But more or less like what is happening within a lot of fields you have to have an interdisciplinary approach to it. The more we learn the less likely one thing such as social psychology will be able to give all the truth on a subject.

Again i feel the need to make psychology a hard science in all aspects will harm it growing into anything it could be.

But just to defend the psychoanalytical side, it does hold a more practical benefit then animism for human culture.

But yes I do agree with you bayside, really in its short history, a lot of what has been made and early theory can be laughed at very easily. biggrin.gif
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Victoria Silverwolf
Although a lot of what is called "psychology" is pure nonsense (I'm talking about the "self help" sort of thing, not professional psychiatrists, mainly,) there is also a great deal of valid, empirical scientific knowledge about the human mind. Perhaps it would be better to refer to this branch of psychology as applied neurobiology. There is very strong evidence, for example, that serotonin reuptake within central nervous systems neurons has a strong effect on mood.

On the other hand, astrology has zero validity. The position of the stars has no effect at all on human behavior. In this case, I think we are comparing an imperfect science with a pseudoscience.
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