Positivism Positivism is the philosophy of science that information derived from logical and mathematical treatments and reports of sensory experience is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge, and that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in this derived knowledge. Verified data received from the senses are known as empirical evidence. Positivism holds that society, like the physical world, operates according to general laws. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected, as is metaphysics and theology. Although the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought, the modern sense of the approach was developed by the philosopher Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so does society. Etymology Overview Antecedents Auguste Comte Antipositivism Main article: antipositivism In historiography
René Descartes Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Leibniz, Spinoza and Descartes were all well versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, and Descartes and Leibniz contributed greatly to science as well. His best known philosophical statement is "Cogito ergo sum" (French: Je pense, donc je suis; I think, therefore I am), found in part IV of Discourse on the Method (1637 – written in French but with inclusion of "Cogito ergo sum") and §7 of part I of Principles of Philosophy (1644 – written in Latin). Early life Descartes was born in La Haye en Touraine (now Descartes), Indre-et-Loire, France. In his book, Discourse On The Method, he says "I entirely abandoned the study of letters. Visions According to Adrien Baillet, on the night of 10–11 November 1619 (St. Work Death In 1991 E.
Philosophical movement A philosophical movement is either the appearance or increased popularity of a specific school of philosophy, or a fairly broad but identifiable sea-change in philosophical thought on a particular subject. Major philosophical movements are often characterized with reference to the nation, language, or historical era in which they arose. Talk of a philosophical movement can often function as a shorthand for talk of the views of a great number of different philosophers (and others associated with philosophy, such as historians, artists, scientists and political figures). On the other hand, most philosophical movements in history consisted in a great number of individual thinkers who disagreed in various ways; it is often inaccurate and something of a caricature to treat any movement as consisting in followers of uniform opinion. More often the defining ideas of any philosophical movement are templates on which individual thinkers develop their own particular ideas.
Cognition Cognition is a faculty for the processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition, or cognitive processes, can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious. These processes are analyzed from different perspectives within different contexts, notably in the fields of linguistics, anesthesia, neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, systemics, and computer science.[page needed] Within psychology or philosophy, the concept of cognition is closely related to abstract concepts such as mind, intelligence. It encompasses the mental functions, mental processes (thoughts), and states of intelligent entities (humans, collaborative groups, human organizations, highly autonomous machines, and artificial intelligences). Etymology Origins Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) heavily emphasized the notion of what he called introspection; examining the inner feelings of an individual. Psychology Social process Serial position
Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is influential in political philosophy. Bentham and Mill believed that a utilitarian government was achievable through democracy. Mill thought that despotism was also justifiable through utilitarianism as a transitional phase towards more democratic forms of governance. As an advocate of liberalism, Mill stressed the relationship between utilitarianism and individualism. Historical background The importance of happiness as an end for humans has long been recognized. Although utilitarianism is usually thought to start with Jeremy Bentham, there were earlier writers who presented theories that were strikingly similar. Hume says that all determinations of morality, this circumstance of public utility principally important. In the first three editions of the book, Hutcheson included various mathematical algorithms "...to compute the Morality of any Actions." This pursuit of happiness is given a theological basis: …actions are to be estimated by their tendency.
Epicureanism Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention. Following Aristippus—about whom very little is known—Epicurus believed that what he called "pleasure" is the greatest good, but the way to attain such pleasure is to live modestly and to gain knowledge of the workings of the world and the limits of one's desires. This led one to attain a state of tranquility (ataraxia) and freedom from fear, as well as absence of bodily pain (aponia). The combination of these two states is supposed to constitute happiness in its highest form. Epicureanism was originally a challenge to Platonism, though later it became the main opponent of Stoicism. Some writings by Epicurus have survived. History By the 16th century, the works of Diogenes Laertius were being printed in Europe. Religion
Holism For the suffix, see holism. Holism (from Greek ὅλος holos "all, whole, entire") is the idea that natural systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts. Reductionism may be viewed as the complement of holism. Social scientist and physician Nicholas A. History The term "holism" was coined in 1926 by Jan Smuts, a South African statesman, in his book Holism and Evolution. Smuts defined holism as the "tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution". The idea has ancient roots. The concept of holism played a pivotal role in Baruch Spinoza's philosophy and more recently in that of Hegel and Edmund Husserl. In science
Pragmatism Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that began in the United States around 1870. Pragmatism is a rejection of the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality. Instead, pragmatists consider thought to be a product of the interaction between organism and environment. Thus, the function of thought is as an instrument or tool for prediction, action, and problem solving. Pragmatists contend that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of knowledge, language, concepts, meaning, belief, and science—are all best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes. A few of the various but interrelated positions often characteristic of philosophers working from a pragmatist approach include: Charles Sanders Peirce (and his pragmatic maxim) deserves much of the credit for pragmatism, along with later twentieth century contributors, William James and John Dewey. Pragmatism enjoyed renewed attention after W. Origins
The Birth of Behavioral Psychology - Author: Dave Grossman "Behavioral Psychology" The Birth of Behavioral Psychology Around the turn of the century, Edward Thorndike attempted to develop an objective experimental method for testing the mechanical problem solving ability of cats and dogs. Thorndike devised a number of wooden crates which required various combinations of latches, levers, strings, and treadles to open them. A dog or a cat would be put in one of these puzzle boxes and, sooner or later, would manage to escape. Thorndike's initial aim was to show that the anecdotal achievement of cats and dogs could be replicated in controlled, standardized circumstances. Thorndike was particularly interested in discovering whether his animals could learn their tasks through imitation or observation. John Broadhus Watson in his 1914 book, Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology, made the next major step in the development of behavioral psychology. In the 1920s behaviorism began to wane in popularity. © 1999 by Academic Press.
Phenomenalism Phenomenalism is the view that physical objects cannot justifiably be said to exist in themselves, but only as perceptual phenomena or sensory stimuli (e.g. redness, hardness, softness, sweetness, etc.) situated in time and in space. In particular, some forms of phenomenalism reduce talk about physical objects in the external world to talk about bundles of sense-data. History Phenomenalism is a radical form of empiricism. Its roots as an ontological view of the nature of existence can be traced back to George Berkeley and his subjective idealism, which David Hume further elaborated. John Stuart Mill had a theory of perception which is commonly referred to as classical phenomenalism. This differs from Berkeley's idealism in its account of how objects continue to exist when no one is perceiving them (this view is also known as "local realism"). Kant's "epistemological phenomenalism", as it has been called, is therefore quite distinct from Berkeley's earlier ontological version.
Belief system A belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be classified as religious, philosophical, ideological, or a combination of these. Philosopher Jonathan Glover says that beliefs are always part of a belief system, and that belief systems are difficult to completely revise. Overview Philosopher Jonathan Glover warns that belief systems are like whole boats in the water; it is extremely difficult to alter them all at once (e.g., it may be too stressful, or people may maintain their biases without realizing it).  The British philosopher Stephen Law has described some belief systems (including belief in homeopathy, psychic powers, and alien abduction) as "claptrap" and said that they "draw people in and hold them captive so they become willing slaves to victory... if you get sucked in, it can be extremely difficult to think your way clear again". Glover emphasizes that beliefs are difficult to change. See also References
Holism in science Holism in science, or Holistic science, is an approach to research that emphasizes the study of complex systems. This practice is in contrast to a purely analytic tradition (sometimes called reductionism) which aims to gain understanding of systems by dividing them into smaller composing elements and gaining understanding of the system through understanding their elemental properties. The holism-reductionism dichotomy is often evident in conflicting interpretations of experimental findings and in setting priorities for future research. Overview Holism in science is an approach to research that emphasizes the study of complex systems. Two central aspects are: The term holistic science has been used[who?] First, they are multidisciplinary. The Nature Institute, a research institute in holistic science, describes the necessity for Holism in science as follows Topics in Holism in science Alternative to reductionism Though considered by some[who?] Biology