Introspection vs Behaviourism

849 WordsJun 25, 20114 Pages
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,…show more content…
Human motivations, emotions, thoughts and behaviours are messy, unpredictable and every human being is a unique bit of mystery. Maybe it shouldn’t be a question of ‘can the experiment be replicated in the laboratory’ because we don’t live in labs. I believe a more pragmatic approach will eventually answer many of the questions psychology struggles with and that’s also what I think MacDougall was advocating in his argument. Watson, as a leading behaviourist of the day advocated for complete rejection of mental phenomena and the concept of consciousness had no place in science b/c mental phenomena cannot be directly observable. So Watson was suggesting that psychology can only be defined as a science if it denies the mind, whaa?! I suggest advocates for this position would instead be more comfortable if they left “Psych”ology to its rightful place as the study of the human mind, and therefore human nature, and instead form a science called Behaviourology. But really, what is the point of experimenting and making observations if you don’t further attempt to determine WHY the observed behaviour occurs? For example: take a child that was physically abused every day of his life and then observe that he grows into an adult who physically abuses his children. Wow how fascinating, not. I believe that this only becomes a question for/of psychology when the observer attempts to determine WHY these patterns of

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