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Philosophy and Psychology are two of the most intriguing concepts that keep pushing the boundaries of what humans know about themselves and the world around them. While philosophy is the study of everything, psychology deals with the workings of the human brain and human perception of the world.
Here, we will talk about both Philosophy and Psychology. We will start by discussing philosophy and its types. Next, we will know about psychology, its importance, and the various research methods used for carrying out psychological research. Finally, we will try to understand the relationship between Philosophy and Psychology.
Philosophy is, in a way, the study of everything. It is usually involved in trying to answer fundamental questions related to existence, knowledge, mind, language, and life. Philosophy attempts to understand the world in all its aspects. It might be challenging for someone new to philosophy to understand who a philosopher is and what they do?
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As per general convention, philosophy might be misunderstood as asking irrelevant and vague questions that have no answers. On the contrary, philosophy tries to answer the most important and simple questions. Because life in itself is a complex topic, there are many fields of philosophy.
Philosophy tries to connect different ideas while also providing the right reasons to do so in a logical way. There are multiple branches of philosophy that deal with different aspects. For example, axiology is the philosophical study of value. It helps to understand why certain things are valuable and the degree of the valuation.
There are four types of philosophy: theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, logic, and history of philosophy. Collectively, we call them the four pillars of philosophy. Let’s learn about all of them one by one.
- Theoretical Philosophy
This pertains to that part of philosophy that deals with knowledge. It tries to answer questions like “What parameters do we decide that the past is a correct indicator of the future?” and “Is there a God?” Epistemology and metaphysics form the basis of theoretical philosophy.
- Practical Philosophy
Unlike theoretical philosophy which dives into knowledge, practical philosophy deals with answers to questions that deal with everyday life. “How to live?” and “What social arrangements are legitimate?” are examples of practical philosophy.
Practical philosophy helps humans to better understand the many ‘whys’ of daily life and the various factors related to it. It helps us to make better decisions in life and thus improve the overall functioning of society.
Logic is a sub-field of philosophy. The study of logic helps us to differentiate between bad and good reasoning. It helps us to think critically. Logic is about relating different things on the basis of something concrete and reasonable.
- History of Philosophy
This is the part of philosophy that studies the philosophies given by the greatest thinkers of human history. It deals with the questions posed by them as well as their answers.
Philosophers try to validate the ideas of famous thinkers and historical philosophers as per the conditions of the present time. Moreover, some philosophers work to extend the work done by previous philosophers.
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As philosophy is a diverse field, it has a lot many concepts. Obviously, it is impossible to explain all of them here in this blog. Therefore, we will limit ourselves to knowing about some of the most important ones among them, which are:
Moral philosophy or ethics is a branch of philosophy that involves classifying human behavior as good and bad and then systematizing and explaining the same. Along with aesthetics, ethics is concerned with matters of value. Hence, it is a part of axiology. There are types of ethics, namely applied ethics, metaethics, and normative ethics.
It is the part of philosophy that focuses on knowledge. Epistemologists are individuals who study nature, origin, and scope of knowledge along with many other things, like epistemic justification and the rationality of belief.
Metaphysics is involved with understanding the fundamental nature of reality. It also studies the causality, necessity, possibility, and the principles of being, change, and identity. It is a very fascinating field of study that tries to understand the complex relationship between mind and matter and the nature of consciousness.
It is the scientific study of the mind and human behavior. Psychology is basically the study of the human mind and its workings. Hence, it includes everything related to the human brain, namely perception, memory, thinking, thoughts, and so on. It crosses the boundaries of natural and social sciences.
As an academic discipline, psychology has a very wide scope. Professionals in psychology are called psychologists. These individuals are involved in research in attention, brain functioning, cognition, emotion, intelligence, motivation, personality, perception, and subjective experiences. It also involves studying the unconscious mind.
Psychologists are responsible for finding out things related to the human brain and behavior that can benefit people by making life better or correcting mind-based issues.
Psychology is a research-intensive field. Hence, there is a range of methods for conducting psychological research. It is a popular career avenue with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
- Controlled Experiments
This involves conducting prototypical experimental research in a laboratory with a carefully controlled environment. Experimental researchers leverage statistical hypothesis testing.
This involves predicting before carrying out the experiment and then assessing how well the collected data is in accordance with the predictions made. Controlled experiments are also used for general research, such as assessing the efficiency of a new vaccination.
- Direct Brain Observation and Manipulation
This is a very complex psychological research method that involves using equipment. For example, an electroencephalogram (EEG) is a popular tool to relate mental and neural activity. It helped to find out brain waves of varying wavelengths that depend on the state of consciousness.
Now we know that the brain emits delta waves during non-REM sleep. To track the flow of blood through the brain, newer functional neuroimaging techniques like fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography) are used.
- Computer Simulation
A popular way to study the human mind is to put it to the test in different conditions. However, doing so can be dangerous for the human subjects involved. Thankfully, we can use an intangible replica of the human mind in the form of computer simulation.
A computer simulation is to emulate normal human interactions digitally. Computational modeling is a popular tool of cognitive psychology and mathematical psychology to simulate human behavior.
Computational modeling allows psychologists to visualize hypotheses regarding the functional organization of mental events that are otherwise not possible to observe in a human. With the evolution of computers, it has become easier to perform simulations. Moreover, these have become fast and accurate.
- Animal Studies
This form of psychological research involves experimenting with animals and then correlating the findings with humans. This is one of the most controversial forms of psychological research methods with strong support from both advocates and opposing groups. This is due to ethics and animal cruelty.
Regardless, animal studies have been carried out for centuries in order to find hidden or subtle aspects of human psychology. Usually, rats are the go-to option. However, other animals like chimpanzees, bears, and frogs are also used to understand better emotion, learning, memory, perception, thoughts, and so on in humans.
- Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is an important tool to understand the why and what of human behavior. Qualitative research focuses on providing answers to questions related to human behavior, thoughts, and feelings. The research methods include first-hand observation, interviews, and participant observation.
- Program Evaluation
It involves analyzing, applying, and collecting information to answer questions related to programs, projects, and policies. Although program evaluation aims to measure the effectiveness of programs and policies, it can also answer questions like what are better alternatives, are the program goals useful, and how to improve.
Stakeholders commonly use program evaluation to understand better the effectiveness of their investments in various organizations and programs.
- Other Types of Studies
Other than the ones mentioned above, there are many other types of psychological research methods. Three popular ones are:
- Surveys – usually used for measuring attitudes and traits. These also help monitor mood changes and check the validity of experimental manipulations.
- Observational studies – These allow researchers to know the degree to which extent factors are correlated. Observational studies also help to study trends in age-related changes in behavior and stability of traits over a specific period.
- Exploratory data analysis – This process involves reducing a galore of variables into fewer most important ones. The purpose is to reduce the complexity involved in a multivariable system. It involves meta analysis.
Although there is no direct relation between philosophy and psychology, there are numerous times when the two fields of study come together. To lead a better life, it is important for humans to know how the brain and the rest of the world work.
Philosophers may leverage psychological concepts to expand their philosophical works, while psychologists can use philosophy to make deductions and form results. Many professionals work both in philosophical projects and psychological research works.
Thus, in a way, the two are related. Moreover, both are popular career avenues, so numerous certification and degree programs are available for interested candidates.
Philosophy and psychology are two closely related terms. While the former deals with asking relevant questions and answering them, the latter focuses on how the human brain works.
Both philosophy and psychology are extensive fields of research that help humans understand themselves and the world around them in a better way.