By K. Hillner
The pre-eminent nineteenth century British ethicist, Henry Sidgwick as soon as acknowledged: "All very important moral notions also are mental, other than maybe the basic antitheses of 'good' and 'bad' and 'wrong', with which psychology, because it treats of what's and never of what should be, isn't at once involved" (quoted in T.N. Tice and T.P. Slavens, 1983). Sidgwick's assertion may be interpreted to intend that psychology is appropriate for ethics or that mental wisdom contributes to the development of a moral truth. This interpretation serves because the simple impetus to this publication, yet Sidgwick's assertion can be analyzed intimately to illustrate why a present exposition at the relevance of psychology for moral truth is important and germane.
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Extra resources for A Psychological Approach to Ethical Reality
Not every psychologist would agree with this rather strict dichotomization between pure and applied psychology. Many experimental psychologists consider the results of basic 24 A Psychological Approach to Ethical Reality laboratory research to be inherently applicable to the behavior occurring in the natural environment; and certainly many psychologists who classify themselves as applied in orientation conduct high-level, meaningful research possessing theoretical significance. Granted that there is much overlap between pure and applied psychology, the distinction is relevant for a number of compelling reasons: 1.
To understand the nature of organismic adaptation to the surrounding physical and social world: this goal requires an implicit or explicit focus on overt behavior. , causal mental activity. , Watson, Skinner, Hull, Guthrie, and 26 A Psychological Approach to Ethical Reality Tolman. Concern for adaptation establishes the notion of action psychology and puts psychology squarely in the Darwinian evolutionary tradition. The intellectual and practical application aspects of psychology are indistinguishable in action psychology.
Professional psychology in America currently enjoys more governmental, economic, and social support than experimental psychology does. The heyday of indiscriminate governmental financial support for pure social science research is over; academic psychology barely is holding its own in the currently depressed state of education; job openings for psychologists are predominantly in the applied areas; the American Psychological Association, which is the overweaning national professional organization, basically is oriented to the needs and concerns of the psychological practitioner; the significant pragmatic and ethical issues of our time relate directly to applied, not experimental, psychology.