It’s easy to confuse them psychology I philosophyPerhaps because both can be applied in a wide variety of fields and tackle problems that go beyond what is material and constant over time. There is a vague idea that advice can be given from both and that rules, guidelines for behavior and life lessons can be offered, but knowing where one’s field of study begins and where. ends the other is not so simple.
However, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist clear lines separating each of its fields of research and application. Here I offer 6 differences between psychology and philosophy that can help you better orient yourself on these types of problems.
Main differences between philosophy and psychology
This is a summary of the ideas to consider when distinguishing between philosophy and psychology.
1. They learn differently
The teaching of psychology is based on methodologies in which very specific tools are incorporated and which go well beyond the careful reading of texts: experimentation with volunteers, observation of parts of the body under a microscope, use of statistical programs, etc.
Philosophy, although it can also use some instruments such as the so-called, it does not have such a broad consensus on the methodologies to be followed. If anything defines it, it is precisely the flexibility to determine what its goal should be and what should be the means to achieve it (i.e., thinking about it can already be seen as important. the philosophy).
So, while in psychology there is a more or less clear accumulation of knowledge, in philosophy it is possible to make significant progress from almost nothing. For example, if learning psychology involves being aware of the most important research that has been going on in recent years, if not months, in philosophy this is not necessary. As a result, work in the field of philosophy can lead to relatively isolated lines of research, while in psychology the creation of knowledge that can lead to consensus is encouraged.
2. They are studied with different methodologies
One of the main differences between psychology and philosophy is the type of methodologies that, in practice, are used in each. Philosophy is independent of the scientific methodAs it works best with conceptual categories and the relationship between them, and therefore can be used by virtually any instrument and method for their research. psychology, However, it relies on empiricism to develop hypotheses about behavior and perception of the human being. Therefore, quantitative (especially experimental) research and statistics are of great importance in psychological research, which means that taking small steps in knowing the psyche is expensive and involves many people.
3. Their goals are different
Classically, philosophy has had even intellectuals, And its greatest purpose has been the creation of categories and philosophical systems that serve to explain reality (or realities) in the best possible way. Philosophy tends to study a whole, rather than specific components of reality. It can also serve as a tool for collective emancipation, as proposed by certain philosophical currents inherited from Marxism, and therefore addresses the usefulness of certain cultural and interpretative frameworks for understanding reality.
Psychology, despite countless applications, delimits one object of study more specific: human behavior and its emotional and subjective dimension. Therefore, their assumptions and theories are always based on the human body or the subjectivity of people, alone or in relation to each other. It almost never addresses the search for a reality totally foreign to the existence of people, which has been historically given in certain philosophical propositions.
4. They use different languages
Much of psychology consists of research by means of the scientific method, and that is why it seeks empirical basis which help it to propose theoretical models well received by the scientific community. As a result, agreement is constantly sought on the meaning of words, to speed up research in certain fields and so that multiple researchers from different regions of the world can collaborate on the same research axis.
Philosophy, on the other hand, it can be found in philosophical systems formulated by one person. This is why the main figures of philosophy use personal and idiosyncratic language, not consensual with others, and the same word or expression can mean very different things depending on the philosopher who formulates them. Philosophy students have to devote a lot of study time to each of the authors before they can understand what they are referring to in each case.
5. Philosophy permeates everything, psychology is specific
Philosophy provides all sciences with the analytical categories from which to study reality, while it should not be affected by scientific discoveries. But philosophy goes beyond science and began to exist before it. In fact, in writing this text, I am doing something that looks more like philosophy than psychology, Because I decide from which perspective to approach each of the concepts, which aspects to highlight and which to omit.
the psychology, being part of one of the different layers of science, is crossed by these philosophical debates which do not have to be part of the subject you intend to study. However, it goes beyond philosophical activity, trying to create knowledge through science. Of course, this research information (and the data on which that information is based) must be interpreted from a certain perspective, and know what is the best force for researchers to ask philosophical questions.
6. Philosophy deals with morality, not psychology
Philosophy wants to explain everything that can be explained, and that includes the study of good manners of behaving. This is why many of the great figures of this discipline have proposed their ways of apprehending the categories of “good” and “evil”, sometimes with the intention of creating universal ethical criteria, and sometimes with the pretension of not creating than a moral. for certain human communities.
Psychology remains on the sidelines of this type of debate and, in any case, it will give information on the types of behaviors that can be useful in approaching a goal, Adopt a more pragmatic logic. Additionally, it is possible for a researcher to study the psychological foundations behind different types of morality in different cultures, but he or she will not be studying the morality itself, but its origins.
In addition, the contributions of psychology can be used to suggest the establishment of ethical scales and moral theories.
If you are curious about where psychology and philosophy are similar, We recommend that you consult this article
- Cher, P. (2007). The scientific revolution. Madrid: History of Marcial Pons. Verd, CD; Groff, PR (2003). First psychological thought: ancient stories of the mind and soul. Westport: Praeger.
- Shapin, S. (1998). The scientific revolution (1st ed.). University of Chicago Press.