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Thomas Kuhn

As stated in the syllabus, there are no tests, but you are going to need to read a chapter or more, and then write “a blurb” (or make a PowerPoint) for this class most every week. If you do, you will learn a lot and likely make a grade that pleases you. Despite what you may be thinking at the moment, if you are truly interested in psychology then much of what you read about and write about will actually be fascinating.

Although the book is always ample to answer the learning objectives, feel free to use other sources – just provide appropriate references if you use ideas belonging to others.

The objectives and assignments for unit 1 are listed below. If writing an essay, then items 3 and 6 can likely be done in a few good lines; whereas items 2, 4, and 5 will likely each require more. That said – don’t worry about a word count, always think quality, not quantity.

1) If you haven’t already, review the syllabus and the course site. 2) Review the basic issues with doing history, specifically the problem of presentism, the problem of not understanding the original context, and the problem with our inherently biased perceptions. In your response make it clear that you appreciate these issues by giving specific examples. 3) Give a reasonable definition of science, and then discuss if by that definition psychology is a science. 4) Summarize Kuhn’s model of evolution in science. 5) Discuss the Mind-Body problem. Which resolution of the matter strikes you as most appealing? 6) Although most textbooks begin the history of psychology with the Pre-Socratic Greeks, what could we learn from looking deeper into prehistory?

For some thoughts related to the last two questions, as well as some fun teasers for matters we will encounter later in this course, consider this interview with the distinguished philosopher-psychologist Nicholas Humphrey: