December 15th, 2012: Big Ideas: Jordan Peterson on Redemption and Psychology in Christianity
I am a professor at the University of Toronto, and have been since 1998. I am also a clinical psychologist, and see clients on a regular basis. Before that, I was a professor at Harvard from 1993-1998. Before that, I was a graduate student and post-doc at McGill. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta. A copy of my CV is appended, for those who might be interested.
It was issues of personality and its transformations that thrust psychology into the forefront of popular consciousness during the twentieth century. Psy230S addresses these intensely interesting topics.
The first half of the course deals with classic issues of psychology. The psychoanalytic thinkers -- Freud, Jung and Adler -- are placed in a context of pre-experimental religious and ritual thought, devoted to the transformation of habit and interpretive schema. The existentialists, phenomenologists, and humanists -- concerned with the relationship between the individual, meaning and health -- are discussed from the perspective of philosophy and political science. The constructivists are dealt with from a viewpoint that is simultaneously developmental and ontological.
The second half of the course deals with issues of modern experimental psychology, from a more biological standpoint. Issues of motivation and information-processing are considered from within a standpoint that is essentially cybernetic: how do human beings operate in the world? What are their goals, their ends and means? What role do emotions and fundamental motivational states play in adaptation to the environment? How might personality traits and disorders be understood, from within such a framework?
Psy434H: Maps of Meaning: The
Architecture of Belief
The world can be validly construed as forum for action, or as place of things.
The former manner of interpretation - more primordial, and less clearly understood - finds its expression in the arts or humanities, in ritual, drama, literature, and mythology. The world as forum for action is a place of value, a place where all things have meaning. This meaning, which is shaped as a consequence of social interaction, is implication for action, or - at a higher level of analysis - implication for the configuration of the interpretive schema that produces or guides action.
The latter manner of interpretation - the world as place of things - finds its formal expression in the methods and theories of science. Science allows for increasingly precise determination of the consensually-validatable properties of things, and for efficient utilization of precisely-determined things as tools (once the direction such use is to take has been determined, through application of more fundamental narrative processes).
No complete world-picture can be generated, without use of both modes of construal. The fact that one mode is generally set at odds with the other means only that the nature of their respective domains remains insufficiently discriminated. Adherents of the mythological world-view tend to regard the statements of their creeds as indistinguishable from empirical "fact," even though such statements were generally formulated long before the notion of objective reality emerged. Those who, by contrast, accept the scientific perspective - who assume that it is, or might become, complete - forget that an impassable gulf currently divides what is from what should be.
The following conclusions have been reached by psychologists interested in the issue of self-deception and its sister concept, repression.
Psy430H has been designed to allow interested students to take a truly in-depth look at one of the most permanently contentious issues in psychology.
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