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Man Is By Nature, A Political Animal

Aristotle, 384 BC – 322 BC, dead. “Man is by nature, a political animal. ” Of the two great philosophers of Greece, Plato and Aristotle, the latter was the one who relied on observation. In Raphael’s The School of Athens the two great philosophers in the center of the painting, surrounded by the other great Greeks, with Plato holding his hand upright as if to indicate, “Look to the perfecti on of the heavens for truth,” while Aristotle holds his arm straight out, implying “look around you at what is if you would know the truth.

Aristotle was born in Stagira (in northern Greece), 384 BC He died in Chalcis (on the Aegean island of Euboea, now Ewoia), 322 B. C. Inland from Stagira was the semi-Greek kingdom of Macedon, with which Aristotle’s family was closely connected. Aristotle’s father, for instance, had been court physician to the Macedonian king Amyntas II. Aristotle lost both parents while a child and was brought up by a friend of the family. He is supposed to have spoken with a lisp and to have been something of a dandy. Aristotle is known for his, “open your eyes and look” philosophy.

He was absolute, relying on lectures, as opposed to leading others to discover their own truths. He established a 200-year Lyceum and is known as the founder of Empiricism. Aristotle also contrived the three Laws of Association; Similarity/Contrast, Contiguity, and Frequency. Further, he believed that everything holds four causes, which are; the Material Cause- what an object is made of, the Formal Cause- the form of an object, the Efficient Cause- the force that transforms the matter, and the Final Cause- the purpose for which an object exists.

He goes on to classify the type of soul an object may posses in the Scala Nature. Plants posses a Vegetative Soul, while animals posses a Sensitive Soul and finally, people posses a Rational soul. For Aristotle, psychology was a study of the soul. Insisting that form (the essence, or unchanging characteristic element in an object) and matter (the common undifferentiated substratum of things) always exist together, Aristotle defined a soul as a “kind of functioning of a body organized so that it can support vital functions.

In considering the soul as essentially associated with the body, he challenged the Pythagorean doctrine that the soul is a spiritual entity imprisoned in the body. Aristotle’s doctrine is a synthesis of the earlier notion that the soul does not exist apart from the body and of the Platonic notion of a soul as a separate, nonphysical entity. Whether any part of the human soul is immortal, and, if so, whether its immortality is personal, are not entirely clear in his treatise On the Soul. The influence of Aristotle’s philosophy has been pervasive; it has even helped to shape modern language and common sense.

His doctrine of the Prime Mover as final cause played an important role in theology. Until the 20th century, logic meant Aristotle’s logic. Until the Renaissance, and even later, astronomers and poets alike admired his concept of the universe. Zoology rested on Aristotle’s work until British scientist Charles Darwin modified the doctrine of the changelessness of species in the 19th century. In the 20th century a new appreciation has developed of Aristotle’s method and its relevance to education, literary criticism, the analysis of human action, and political analysis.

Epicurus, 341 BC- 270 BC, expired. Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based chiefly on the teachings of Epicurus. The essential doctrine of Epicureanism is that pleasure is the supreme good and main goal of life. Intellectual pleasures are preferred to sensual ones, which tend to disturb peace of mind. True happiness, Epicurus taught, is the serenity resulting from the conquest of fear of the gods, of death, and of the afterlife. The ultimate aim of all Epicurean speculation about nature is to rid people of such fears.

Epicurean physics is atomistic, in the tradition of the Greek philosophers Leucippus and Democritus. Epicurus regarded the universe as infinite and eternal and as consisting only of bodies and space. Of the bodies, some are compound and some are atoms, or indivisible, stable elements of which the compounds are formed. Epicurean psychology is materialistic. It holds that a continuous stream of films or “idols” cast off by bodies and impinging on the senses causes sensations. All sensations are believed to be absolutely reliable; error arises only when sensation is improperly interpreted.

The soul is regarded as being composed of fine particles distributed throughout the body. The dissolution of the body in death, Epicurus taught, leads to the dissolution of the soul, which cannot exist apart from the body; and thus no afterlife is possible. Since death means total extinction, it has no meaning either to he living or to the dead, for “when we are, death is not; and when death is, we are not. ” Francis (Roger) Bacon, 1561-1626, extinct. Found dead in a freezer amidst a flock of chickens testing his theory on refrigeration.

The quote “Knowledge is power. is accredited to this man. Born in Ilchester, Somersetshire, Bacon was educated at the universities of Oxford and Paris. He remained in Paris after completing his studies and taught for a time at the University of Paris. Soon after his return to England in about 1251, he entered the religious order of the Franciscans and settled at Oxford. He carried on active studies and did experimental research, mainly in alchemy, optics, and astronomy. Bacon was a radical empiricist, interested only in the facts of observation. Further, Bacon created the Four Idols, or four sources of error.

The first is the Idol of the Cave, which is personal bias. The second is named the Idol of the Tribe, which is cultural bias. The third, Idol of the Marketplace, the error is semantics. Finally, the Idol of the Theatre, with the error being allegiance to dogma. Bacon wrote to Pope Clement IV in 1266, writing what looks remarkably similar to a grant proposal that a mathematician or scientist might make today. His proposal was for an encyclopaedia of all the sciences worked on by a team of collaborators, coordinated by a body in the Church.

Pope Clement IV, however, not being accustomed to receive proposals of this nature, misunderstood what Bacon was proposing, believing rather that Bacon’s proposed encyclopaedia of science already existed. He asked to see it and Bacon, who could not disobey the Pope, rapidly composed the Opus maius (Great Work), the Opus minus (Smaller Work) and the Opus tertium (Third Work). This remarkable achievement was carried out in secret since Bacon’s superiors were violently opposed to what he was doing.

Bacon was aiming to show the Pope that sciences had a rightful role in the university curriculum. He wrote down in Opus maius an astounding collection of ideas, for example he gives a proposal for a telescope:- For we can so shape transparent bodies, and arrange them in such a way with respect to our sight and objects of vision, that the rays will be reflected and bent in any direction we desire, and under any angle we wish, we may see the object near or at a distance … So we might also cause the Sun, Moon and stars in appearance to descend here below…

In 1268 Pope Clement IV died and Bacon’s chances of seeing his great project come to fruition vanished. About this time however Bacon embarked on another great project himself, starting to write the Communia naturalium (General Principles of Natural Philosophy) and the Communia mathematica (General Principles of Mathematical Science). Only parts were ever published, probably most was never written, but again there were some remarkable insights on astronomy and calendar reform, which Bacon had formed after making observations.

It was reported that Bacon … d sometimes use in the night season to ascend this place (his study on Folly Bridge, on an eyot midstream in the Thames) invironed with waters and there to take the altitude and distance of stars and make use of it for his own convenience… Bacon believed that the Earth was a sphere and that one could sail round it. He estimated the distance to the stars coming up with the answer 130 million miles. Around 1278 Bacon was put in prison by his fellow Franciscans, the charge being of suspected novelties in his teaching. Clearly from his writings Bacon did not meekly refrain from putting forward his views after this.

They were as aggressively stated in his last writings of 1293 as at any time in his life. William of Occam, 1285-1349, deceased. “It is vain to do more with what can be done for less. ” (No photo available) Ockham was born in Surrey, England. He entered the Franciscan order and studied and taught at the University of Oxford from 1309 to 1319. Denounced by Pope John XXII for dangerous teachings, he was held in house detention for four years (1324-1328) at the papal palace in Avignon, France, while the orthodoxy of his writings was examined.

Siding with the Franciscan general against the pope in a dispute over Franciscan poverty, Ockham fled to Munich in 1328 to seek the protection of Louis IV, Holy Roman emperor, who had rejected papal authority over political matters. Excommunicated by the pope, Ockham wrote against the papacy and defended the emperor until the latter’s death in 1347. William of Occam is most famously known for his concept of adhering to the simplest hypothesis, known as Occam’s razor. Auguste Comte, 1798-1857, departed. A French positivist who was the founder of sociology.

Comte argued that an empirical study of historical processes, particularly of the progress of the various interrelated sciences, reveals a law of three stages that govern human development. He analyzed these stages in his major work, the six-volume Course of Positive Philosophy (1830-42; trans. 1853). Because of the nature of the human mind, each science or branch of knowledge passes through “three different theoretical states: the theological or fictitious state; the metaphysical or abstract state; and, lastly, the scientific or positive state.

At the theological stage, events are immaturely explained by appealing to the will of the gods or of God. At the metaphysical stage phenomena are explained by appealing to abstract philosophical categories. The final evolutionary stage, the scientific, involves relinquishing any quest for absolute explanations of causes. Attention is focused altogether on how phenomena are related, with the aim of arriving at generalizations subject to observational verification. Comte’s work is considered the classical expression of the positivist attitude—namely, that the empirical sciences are the only adequate source of knowledge.

Although he rejected belief in a transcendent being, Comte recognized the value of religion in contributing to social stability. In his four-volume System of Positive Policy (1851-54; trans. 1875-77), he proposed his religion of humanity, aimed at encouraging socially beneficial behavior. Comte’s chief significance, however, derives from his role in the historical development of positivism. British Empiricism (again, no photo available and I don’t think this one is dead…. yet) refers to the 18th century philosophical movement in Great Britain which maintained that all knowledge comes from experience.

Indeed, we have inborn propensities which regulate our bodily functions, produce emotions, and even direct our thinking. What Empiricists deny, though, is that we are born with detailed, picture-like, concepts of God, causality, and even mathematics. British Empiricists also moved away from deductive proofs and used an inductive method of arguing which was more conducive to the data of experience. In spite of their advocacy of inductive argumentation, though, British Empiricists still made wide use of deductive arguments. Rene Descartes, 1596-1650, measured for coffee.

Cogito ergo, sum. ” His list of contributions includes, dualism, mechanism, and comparative anatomy. Born in La Haye, Touraine (a region and former province of France), Descartes was the son of a minor nobleman and belonged to a family that had produced a number of learned men. At the age of eight he was enrolled in the Jesuit school of La Flche in Anjou, where he remained for eight years. Besides the usual classical studies, Descartes received instruction in mathematics and in Scholastic philosophy, which attempted to use human reason to understand Christian doctrine.

Descartes’ philosophy, called Cartesianism, carried him into elaborate and erroneous explanations of a number of physical phenomena. These explanations, however, had value, because he substituted a system of mechanical interpretations of physical phenomena for the vague spiritual concepts of most earlier writers. Although Descartes had at first been inclined to accept the Copernican theory of the universe with its concept of a system of spinning planets revolving around the sun, he abandoned this theory when it was pronounced heretical by the Roman Catholic church.

In its place he devised a theory of vortices in which space was entirely filled with matter, in various states, whirling about the sun. Descartes also created four rules for obtaining certainty, which are: To admit nothing as true unless I recognized it as such. To divide each difficulty into as many parts as possible. To think in an orderly fashion and to treat things as ordered even if they are not. Finally, to make enumerations so complete and reviews so general that nothing is omitted. Materialism (still alive and well) is the view that everything that actually exists is material, or physical.

Man as machine. ” Many philosophers and scientists now use the terms ‘material’ and ‘physical’ interchangeably. Characterized in this way, as a doctrine about what exists, materialism is an ontological, or a metaphysical, view; it is not just an epistemological view about how we know or just a semantic view about the meaning of terms. According to this doctrine, matter is the ultimate reality, and the phenomenon of consciousness is explained by physiochemical changes in the nervous system.

Materialism is thus the antithesis of idealism, in which the supremacy of mind is affirmed and matter is characterized as an aspect or objectification of mind. Extreme or absolute materialism is known as materialistic monism. In modern times philosophical materialism has been largely influenced by the doctrine of evolution and may indeed be said to have been assimilated in the wider theory of evolution. Supporters of the theory of evolution go beyond the mere antitheism or atheism of materialism and seek positively to show how the diversities and differences in creation are the result of natural as opposed to supernatural processes.

Darwinism via Charles Darwin, 1809-1882, moved to those deluxe apartments in the sky. Social Darwinism is a term coined in the late 19th century to describe the idea that humans, like animals and plants, compete in a struggle for existence in which natural selection results in “survival of the fittest. ” Social Darwinists base their beliefs on theories of evolution developed by British naturalist Charles Darwin. Some social Darwinists argue that governments should not interfere with human competition by attempting to regulate the economy or cure social ills such as poverty.

Instead, they advocate a laissez-faire political and economic system that favors competition and self-interest in social and business affairs. Social Darwinists typically deny that they advocate a “law of the jungle. ” But most propose arguments that justify imbalances of power between individuals, races, and nations because they consider some people more fit to survive than others. The term social Darwinist is applied loosely to anyone who interprets human society primarily in terms of biology, struggle, competition, or natural law (a philosophy based on what are considered the permanent characteristics of human nature).

Many people believe that the concept of social Darwinism explains the philosophical rationalization behind racism, imperialism, and capitalism. The term has negative implications for most people because they consider it a rejection of compassion and social responsibility. Critics have alleged that sociobiology is simply another version of social Darwinism. They claim that it downplays the role of culture in human societies and justifies poverty and warfare in the name of natural selection. Such criticism has led to a decline in the influence of sociobiology and other forms of social Darwinism.

Edward L. Thorndike, 1874-1949, exanimate. American psychologist and educator, born in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, and educated at Wesleyan, Harvard, and Columbia universities. Thorndike joined the psychology faculty at Teachers College of Columbia University in 1899, where he served as adjunct professor of educational psychology from 1901 to 1904 and as professor of psychology from 1904 until his retirement in 1940. From 1922 to 1940 he also was director of the psychology division of the Institute of Educational Research at Teachers College.

He is particularly known for his construction of various intelligence and aptitude tests and for his repudiation of the belief that such primarily intellectual subjects as languages and mathematics discipline the mind. Because of his opposition to that belief, he greatly encouraged the inclusion of various informational subjects, such as the physical and social sciences, in elementary and secondary school curricula. The functionalism school of psychological thinking stressed the study of the mind as a functioning and useful part of the organism.

The functionalist attitude was a natural outcome of the widespread interest in Darwinism and in the doctrine of the “survival of the fittest. ” Functionalism emphasized such techniques as human intelligence tests and controlled experiments designed to test the ability of animals to learn and solve problems. This type of investigation represented a clear break with the introspective methods favored by other 19th-century psychologists. Logical Positivism began in Vienna in the 1920’s and was named by Herbert Feigl.

Positivism is a belief that, based on experience and empirical knowledge of natural phenomena, metaphysics and theology are regarded as inadequate and imperfect systems of knowledge. The two primary components of positivism, the philosophy and the polity (or program of individual and social conduct), were later welded by Comte into a whole under the conception of a religion, in which humanity was the object of worship. A number of Comte’s disciples refused, however, to accept this religious development of his philosophy, because it seemed to contradict the original positivist philosophy.

Many of Comte’s doctrines were later adapted and developed by the British social philosophers John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer and by the Austrian philosopher and physicist Ernst Mach. The positivists today, who have rejected this way of thinking prefer to call themselves logical empiricists in order to dissociate themselves from the emphasis of the earlier thinkers on scientific verification. They maintain that the verification principle itself is philosophically unverifiable. John Watson, 1878-1958, will no longer be shopping with us today.

Humans can learn to fear seemingly unimportant stimuli when the stimuli is paired with unpleasant experiences. ” The American psychologist John B. Watson first developed behaviorism in the early 20th century. The dominant view of that time was that psychology is the study of inner experiences or feelings by subjective, introspective methods. Watson did not deny the existence of inner experiences, but he insisted that these experiences could not be studied because they were not observable.

He was greatly influenced by the pioneering investigations of the Russian physiologists Ivan P. Pavlov and Vladimir M. Bekhterev on conditioning of animals (classical conditioning). Watson proposed to make the study of psychology scientific by using only objective procedures such as laboratory experiments designed to establish statistically significant results. The behavioristic view led him to formulate a stimulus-response theory of psychology. In this theory all complex forms of behavior—emotions, habits, and such—are seen as composed of simple muscular and glandular elements that can be observed and measured. He claimed that emotional reactions are learned in much the same way as other skills.

Watson’s stimulus-response theory resulted in a tremendous increase in research activity on learning in animals and in humans, from infancy to early adulthood. Between 1920 and midcentury, behaviorism dominated psychology in the United States and also had wide international influence. By the 1950s, the new behavioral movement had produced a mass of data on learning that led such American experimental psychologists as Edward C. Tolman, Clark L. Hull, and B. F. Skinner to formulate their own theories of learning and behavior based on laboratory experiments instead of introspective observations.

Clark Hull, 1884-1952, out to pasture. Clark Hull grew up handicapped and contracted polio at the age of 24, yet he still became one of the great contributors to psychology. His family was not well off so his education had to be stopped at times, Clark earned extra money through teaching. Originally Clark aspired to be a great engineer, but that was before he fell in love with the field of Psychology. By the age of 29 he graduated from Michigan University. Hull was an objective behaviorist. He never considered the conscious, or any mentalistic notion. He tried to reduce every concept to physical terms.

He viewed human behavior as mechanical, automatic and cyclical, which could be reduced to the terms of physics. Obviously, he thought in terms of mathematics, and felt that behavior should be expressed according to these terms. “Psychologist must not only develop a thorough understanding of mathematics, they must think in mathematics” (Schultz & Schultz, 1987, p 239). In Hull’s time three specific methods were commonly used by researchers; observation, systematic controlled observation, and experimental testing of the hypothesis. Hull believed that an additional method was needed, – The Hypothetico Deductive method.

This involves deriving postulates from which experimentally testable conclusions could be deduced. These conclusions would then be experimentally tested. Hull viewed the drive as a stimulus, arising from a tissue need, which in turn stimulates behavior. The strength of the drive is determined upon the length of the deprivation, or the intensity / strength of the resulting behavior. He believed the drive to be non-specific, which means that the drive does not direct behavior rather it functions to energize it. In addition this drive reduction is the reinforcement.

Hull recognized that organisms were motivated by other forces, secondary reinforcements. ” This means that previously neutral stimuli may assume drive characteristics because they are capable of eliciting responses that are similar to those aroused by the original need state or primary drive” (Schultz & Schultz, 1987, p 240). So learning must be taking place with in the organism. Hull’s learning theory focuses mainly on the principle of reinforcement; when an S-R relationship is followed by a reduction of the need, the probability increases that in future similar situations the same stimulus will create the same prior response.

Reinforcement can be defined in terms of reduction of a primary need. Just as Hull believed that there were secondary drives, he also felt that there were secondary reinforcements – ” If the intensity of the stimulus is reduced as the result of a secondary or learned drive, it will act as a secondary reinforcement”. The way to strengthen the S-R response is to increase the number of reinforcements. Burrhus Frederic Skinner, 1904-1990, lost his sweepstakes entry. Born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, and educated at Harvard University, where he received (1931) a Ph. D. degree. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1948.

Skinner became the foremost exponent in the U. S. of the behaviorist school of psychology, in which human behavior is explained in terms of physiological responses to external stimuli. He also originated programmed instruction, a teaching technique in which the student is presented a series of ordered, discrete bits of information, each of which he or she must understand before proceeding to the next stage in the series. Skinner’s position, known as radical (or basic) behaviorism, is similar to Watson’s view that psychology is the study of the observable behavior of individuals interacting with their environment.

Skinner, however, disagrees with Watson’s position that inner processes, such as feelings, should be excluded from study. He maintains that these inner processes should be studied by the usual scientific methods, with particular emphasis on controlled experiments using individual animals and humans. His research with animals, focusing on the kind of learning—known as operant conditioning—that occurs as a consequence of stimuli, demonstrates that complex behavior such as language and problem solving can be studied scientifically. Skinner also postulated the concept of reinforcement.

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