chapter  1
6 Pages

Introduction to debates in psychology

It is intended that each chapter here builds upon material already presented. Thus when Chapter Five is reached concerning whether or not psychology can be a science, key debates covered in the chapters that precede this are brought back into the discussion. If free will (Chapter Two) is an illusion and all behaviour and mental life is the result of deterministic chains of cause-and-effect relationships, then establishing these relationships very much fits in with the traditional goal of the scientific endeavour. And thus, logically psychology should adopt a ‘scientific’ approach. The issue of reductionism is dealt with in Chapter Three and here the emphasis is upon whether or not it is fruitful for psychologists to break down human beings into smaller units in order to understand how they work. This approach again is quite typical of what is often meant when we refer to science. This is followed by an account (Chapter Four) of the mind-body problem. Here, it is intended as a good illustration of the problems inherent in scientific reductionism.