Psychology and the Human Condition

Does psychology address the human condition?  A recent post of the American Psychology-Law Society listserve noted the limitations of psychology education in undestanding foundational issues in the law, e.g., criminal responsibility.  I responded in part as follows:

Few psychologists have studied cultural history, philosophy, or ethics that serve as a foundation for understanding concepts of human responsibility (Currently, I am reading ER  Dodds, The Greeks and The Irrational, which addresses these very issues within the framework of archaic Greek religion: Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and others).  Psychology has little to say about human responsibility. As a “value free,” secular science, psychology, probably rightly, separated itself from moral philosophy, theological and philosophical anthropology, ethical theory, etc. Many (most) mental health professionals are uneducated in the cultural, historical, and philosophical foundations that underlie our “science” of human responsibility. Over the past few years this has been creeping back into psychology but it is still inadequate. Psychology has little to say about moral choice or guilt, for example. Many lawyers are just as lacking. They are practitioners, proceduralists, not philosophers of law. A course in criminal  law would not necessarily help. Graduate programs in law and psychology should be viewed as trade schools and not sources of classical liberal education (which is what I think you are talking about)…   

Share

No Comments

Leave a Reply