RELG361-Paper2 - RELG 361 PAPER#2 March 13th 2008 Michael...

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RELG 361- PAPER #2 Michael Roskies March 13 th , 2008 260193197 While objective psychology and psychoanalysis both have foundations in the analysis of human behavior to reveal the mechanisms behind the “unconscious”, their approaches and the resulting insights they offer are significantly different. Wulff denotes the basis of their dissimilarities as lying in “the place given to subjectivity” (Wulff, 258). Objective wpsychology takes an external perspective to the human condition, using observable behavior or explained biological processes to explain religion. It is limited to empirical data from behaviorism or comparative psychology studies, but this allows for anonymity between researcher and a large subject group (while both parties remain detached emotionally). Such research is used to explain, predict and control behavior, whereas psychoanalysis seeks to discover its origins. Psychoanalysis focuses on the internal psyche (or sub-conscious) and views religion as a deeply rooted subliminal mechanism. These researchers are highly invested in their subjects’ “inner world [that must] be taken into account” (Wulff, 258) and use these more intimate case studies to “suffer” with them. Even though objective psychology has criticized psychoanalysis for its lack of scientific data, the two approaches have significant similarities. Both disciplines maintain that human behavior is the result of events that that lie outside the realm of consciousness and both reject unaided introspection as a means of collecting fundamental data. Objective psychology draws on elements like unconscious attitude or conditioned behaviors, whereas psychoanalysis highlights the significance of dreams or development
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during infancy. Each discipline is a “self-conscious product of the positivistic and materialistic world” that both aim to save human kind from a delusional, self-defeating ignorance rooted deep in our minds. People seek out psychology and/or religion to answer the more complex universal questions because salvation and a sense of clarity are at their core. What unites both these approaches of psychology however, is their similar radical challenges to religion and faith as a means of providing the answers. While ontogeny is defined as the development of an individual organism, phylogeny is the evolution of an entire species. Development and evolution can be applied to religious growth in an individual and over time in the human race, respectively. Stanley Hall stated that “as in embryological development, so is in religious: ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” (Wulff, 59). With this understanding, Sigmund Freud emphasized the phylogenetic dimension of religion because he believed that it possessed more questions regarding the psyche, culture and religion in its entirety. He believed that while the importance of ontogeny is seen for clinical purposes for an individual, phylogeny could help explain the evolution of religion in the development of human kind
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course RELG 361 taught by Professor Boutin during the Spring '08 term at McGill.

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RELG361-Paper2 - RELG 361 PAPER#2 March 13th 2008 Michael...

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