Gonzalez, Luis

What is psychology?

The Origins of Psychology
Psychologists today would no doubt insist that psychology is a discipline separate and distinct from that of philosophy. The mere fact that psychology is thought of as a science sets it apart from philosophy and, at times, makes it quite incompatible with philosophy. Yet psychology and philosophy are bound by history in that it is from philosophy that psychology receives the methods that psychology employs in analyzing and evaluating the mind and all that it entails. Psychology owes its existence to a great number of philosophical thinkers including Aristotle, Plato, John Locke, and David Hume. Here, I shall focus on the particular influences of Rationalism, specifically focusing on the work of René Descartes and the counter arguments of Emmanuel Kant.

Psychology is the scientific study of memory, stress, psychotherapy, love, persuasion, hypnosis, perception, death, conformity, creativity, conditioning, personality, aging, intelligence, sexuality, emotion, and more.The subject matter of psychology is the behavior and experience of human beings and other organisms. While some psychologists are engaged in research to further our understanding of behavior, many are involved in applying the principles developed in the laboratory and field studies to human problems. As the complexity of society increases, psychological knowledge takes on a more and more important role - in courts, in classrooms, in legislatures, in prisons, in boardrooms, and behind sales counters, in clinics, and in hospitals.

What is Sociology?  


Sociology originated from and was influenced by the industrial revolution during the early nineteenth century. There are five major founders of sociology: August Comte, Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. August Comte is thought of as the "Father of Sociology" as he coined the term sociology in 1838. He believed that society should be understood and studied as it was, rather than what it ought to be. He was the first to recognize that the path to understanding the world and society was based in science. Marx, Spencer, Durkheim, and Weber further helped define and develop sociology as a science and discipline, each contributing important theories and concepts still used and understood in the field today.

The Approach of its Study 

Sociology is the systematic and scientific study of society and social behavior. The sociologist looks beyond individual and unique events to the predictable broad patterns and regular occurrences of social life that influence individuals, especially gender, race/ethnicity, and social class/inequality. This is the sociological imagination. Courses in sociology focus on the forms of social organization and social processes in our own and other cultures, and on the theoretical approaches sociologists use to understand them.

These courses contribute to students' ability to think critically and act responsibly in a complex and rapidly changing world. Sociology provides students with the tools to examine the social and cultural dimensions of mass society and to analyze social justice issues. Sociology courses are required for a number of majors; many courses fulfill General Education Pathways requirements.

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