hughes final rst362

hughes final rst362 - Joseph Angel-Field 1 As psychology...

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Joseph Angel-Field 1. As psychology aspired to become more of a ‘hard science,’ it increasingly lost the human element. Humanistic psychology arose as a response to these trends towards Freudian psychoanalysis, which focused on people with sexual or other issues (which seems to be most everyone) and behaviorism, which rejected the subjective human complexity for the observable cause and effect reactions occurring in the lives of human beings. David Wulff describes the Humanistic tradition as rejecting “…in one voice the idea of an objective science of observable behavior,” as well as “…the psychoanalytic assumption that unconscious forces are a controlling factor in every human life (pg. 524). By rejecting these psychologies which have been generally reductionary and negative about religion, humanistic psychology has proven to be a much more supportive force for religion. Wulff here separates the American and German humanistic psychologies, in their differing approaches to religion. German psychologists who study religion usually have a background in philosophy or theology, and are more disposed to define the limitations of the field, and approaching philosophical and theological questions. Wulff accuses the German tradition as possessing German idealist philosophy and liberal Christian thought while claiming a position of neutrality (pg.524). In the German humanist tradition, psychology is seen as an important contributor to the theological dialogue. Wulff contrasts the American humanists as psychologists whose studies are exterior to the theological perspective; they are much less concerned with philosophical and theological issues and the aforementioned questions of boundaries. The American humanistic psychologists of religion have not hesitated to include humanistic philosophy into their psychology that, as Wulff says, “sometimes takes on a distinctly religious character, although references to a transcendent dimension typically remain oblique (pg. 524).” Let us here examine what humanism means. Humanism refers to the study of human beings, mainly in addressing existential questions such as the full potential of human life, and the fate of humans. Philosophy, in a similar way comes from roots meaning ‘the love of knowledge,’ and ‘-sophy’ or knowledge comes from roots referring to the improvement of human life. So in a similar fashion to humanistic psychology, philosophy is the study of how humans can live better. In a similar fashion to humanistic psychology, philosophy is the study of how humans can live better. The difference between humanism in the philosophical and psychological brands, is that while philosophical humanism generally rejects notions of the divine, humanistic psychology is open to the notion of the divine as it pertains to religion and other positive manifestations in the human life. Erich Fromm’s understanding of religion and its contribution to human well-being is modeled in the frame of his dichotomy between authoritarian and
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course R/ST 362 taught by Professor Hughes during the Fall '07 term at CSU Long Beach.

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hughes final rst362 - Joseph Angel-Field 1 As psychology...

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