Psychology is largely a product of Western Civilization, with strong roots tracing back to the Ancient Greeks. Roman ideas and Christian ideals still shape how we think and behave. In this unit we will consider such influences.
1) Discuss the importance of the Pythagoreans and other Pre-Socratics for laying the foundations of “Western Civilization” and its longstanding belief that science is the key to a better life. 2) Discuss the advent of rational medicine in the Ancient world. 3) What impresses you most about Socrates? 4) What are the implications of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave for psychology? 5) How would you defend the thesis that Aristotle is the first psychologist? 6) Explain how Epicureanism and Stoicism could be useful to modern college students. 7) What role do you see the Christianizing of Rome having had on the history of psychology? Include both the writings of Paul and also St. Augustine in your answer. 8) Discuss some of the contributions made to science, medicine, and philosophy by Islamic scholars (e.g., why do you write with Arabic numerals, and where does Algebra come from). 9) Explain Occam’s Razor with an example.
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