Research+Methods[1] - Research Methods I & II Part I...

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Part I First, some history: Rationalisms and Empiricism Epistemology The study of knowledge and its origins Plato Divided reality into 2 parts: Idea (or Ideal ) – this is the ultimate reality, permanent, eternal, and spiritual. (e.g., the triangle and Pythagorean Theorem; scientific laws such as E=mc²). Phenomena – manifestation of the ideal; objects of our sensations and perceptions (i.e., physical stimulus in our environment such as day-to-day triangular objects to even broader entities such as matter, time, and space). The phenomenal world strives to become ideal, perfect, and complete – using the ideal as a benchmark. As a result, he did not believe in learning the truth through observation (since what we observe is a mere imitation of the truth), but rather through introspection, reasoning through deduction. Rationalists – believe in "self-evident truths" (universal; we all agree). Although this may be true for some (e.g., "You can't be in two places at once," "something either is or it isn't"), it is not necessarily true for all (e.g., "God exists"; "The universe had to have a beginning"; "All men are created equal"). The latter typically depend on one's point of view, personal attitudes or beliefs, in which case they are manufactured by us – just put in place to "sound good" or establish comforting rules or codes of conduct, political and economic systems, etc. We, thus, refer to the latter "truths" as "tautological"). Deductive techniques Syllogism (Aristotle) – Modus Ponens : "Men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal." (if x, then y. x. therefore, y.) – logical Modus tollens : "If you are human, then you are mortal. You are not mortal. Therefore, you are not human." – logical Denial of the antecedent: "If you are human, then you are mortal. You are not human. Therefore, you are not mortal."; If God would show himself to me personally, that would prove the truth of religion. But, he hasn't done so. Therefore, religion is false." – illogical Affirmation of the consequence : If you are human, then you are mortal. You are mortal. Therefore, you are human."; If God created the universe, we would see order in nature. We do in fact see order in the universe – the laws of nature – therefore, God must have created the universe." – illogical The most magnificent example of rationalism is Benedict Spinoza's "God exists." B/c by "God", he actually meant the entire universe (physical and spiritual). So, everything that 1
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is, is! How can you argue with that? And he didn't stop there – he carefully, step by step, reasoned his way trough a very sophisticated and elegant system of metaphysics, ethics, and psychology. Impressive. Most impressive. Aristotle
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This note was uploaded on 04/24/2008 for the course PSYC 1101 taught by Professor Leader during the Spring '07 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Research+Methods[1] - Research Methods I & II Part I...

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