Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 11:33:04 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

The Enlightenment Gap

Failed to solve two key knowledge problems

 Failed to solve two key knowledge problems
photo by

  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Gregg Henriques, PhD :
Although the Enlightenment revolutionized human thought and transformed the world, it failed to produce a coherent theory of knowledge. The central reason is that the modernist systems of science and philosophy that emerged during the Enlightenment failed to produce a clear descriptive system for understanding the relationship between (a) matter and mind and (b) social and scientific knowledge. These two problems combine to make up what I call the Enlightenment Gap.
The claim these are two unresolved problems that stem from Enlightenment thinking does not require much justification, as they represent some of the most prominent areas of controversy and confusion in modern sense-making. Consider, for example, that the "mind-body problem" is central to modern discourse (see, e.g., here for a video series on this issue). In addition, the disputes between modernist and postmodernist sensibilities center on interpretations of truth and scientific knowledge relative to the social construction of the knowledge and the linkages of knowledge and power. In other words, the postmodern critique arises from the failure of the Enlightenment to resolve the social versus science knowledge problem.
As those familiar with my work know, I am obsessed with what I call the problem of psychology. Although the problem has many facets, the core of it refers to the fact that, unlike physics, chemistry, biology, and neuroscience, psychology lacks a clearly defined subject matter. Consider that some psychologists define the field as the science of the mind, whereas some define it as the science of behavior, and most define it as both (i.e., the science of mind and behavior). This is just the start of the problem, as the field also struggles deeply in its efforts to define what is meant by either mind or behavior. In addition, it is not clear if the primary referent for the science of psychology is: (a) all animals; (b) some animals; or (c) only the human animal.
We can directly link the problem of psychology to the Enlightenment Gap. Indeed, it is helpful to look at the relation between the two bi-directionally. First, we can consider the problem of psychology as the downstream consequence of the Enlightenment Gap. It makes perfect sense that, lacking a coherent frame for differentiating mind from matter and social knowledge from scientific knowledge, the science of mind and behavior would be convoluted.
Second, we can reverse our perspective and consider the Enlightenment Gap through the lens of the problem of psychology. The utility of doing so becomes more apparent when we consider the place of psychology in our systems of human knowledge. Specifically, the field of psychology lies at the heart of academic knowledge, sitting on the fault lines between the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.
Here is how I defined the problem of psychology in A New Unified Theory of Psychology:
The problem of psychology is the joint observation that the field cannot be coherently defined and yet it connects more deeply than any other discipline to the three great branches of learning. Taken together, these observations suggest that the problem of psychology is a profound problem in academia at large. This conclusion is bolstered by the fact that as psychology has lumbered along acquiring findings but not foundational clarity, the fragmentation of human knowledge has grown exponentially. All of this suggests that the question, "What is psychology?" is profoundly important, one of the central questions in all of philosophy. Asking the right questions is often the most important step in getting the right answer. My interest in psychotherapy integration ultimately led me to ask the question, "What is psychology?". Although I had no idea at the time, it turns out that this is the right question. And, as startling as it sounds, because psychology connects to so many different domains, the correct answer to it opens up a whole new vision for integrating human knowledge.
As this quotation notes, the problem of psychology is central to our human knowledge systems. The failure to define psychology, coupled with its connection to so many different disciplines, identifies it as a nexus of conceptual confusion. Now, looking back, we can see the discipline as an amorphous "science of mind/behavior" that fills the shadow space left by the Enlightenment Gap. Its lack of form is a consequence of the failure of the Enlightenment to achieve a workable, synthetic philosophy of science that was up to the task of achieving consilience.
One great hope is that the 21st Century will result in us solving the problem of psychology and achieve a consilient vision of the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities such that we can usher in a second Enlightenment.>>>>
(Gregg Henriques, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at James Madison University).


News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Business & Economy »

NLI gets new Chairman

Business Desk :Renowned industrialist and entrepreneur Morshed Alam, has been elected as the new chairman of National Life Insurance Company Limited. The declaration came out from 259th board of directors meeting of the company held on Sunday through digital platform, said a press release.Morshed Alam is a Sponsor Director of ...

Editorial »

Farmers should be included in govt food procurement drive

FARMERS who receive agricultural loans should be included in the government's food procurement drive on priority basis, a study report recommended. The smallholder farmers, who could get loan under the government's agricultural credit disbursement facility, should have access to sell rice, paddy and wheat to the food directorate, it said.The ...

City »

Bangladesh Customs, Excise and VAT Executive Officers Association stages a demonstration in front of Revenue Office in the city on Monday in protest against rude behavior of Joint Commissioner of Pangaon Customs House Lutfur Kabir with Revenue officers.

Football »

Messi, Barcelona remember Maradona in winning style

AFP, Madrid :Barcelona on Sunday followed the advice of coach Ronald Koeman and paid tribute to their former player Diego Maradona with an emphatic return to form in La Liga and a 4-0 victory over Osasuna.Maradona, who played two seasons for Barca, died on Wednesday aged 60.Before the match, the ...

Entertainment »

Vidya Balan`s film shoot halted after rejecting Minister’s invitation

Bollywood actress Vidya Balan has landed in hot soup after her film’s shooting reportedly came to a halt after she turned down an invitation to dinner from a state minister. Vidya Balan is currently filming for her upcoming film Sherni in Madhya Pradesh. For the past few weeks, she has ...

International »

Australia demands apology from China for fake image

Reuters, Sydney :Australia demanded an apology after a senior Chinese official posted a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife with blood on it to the throat of an Afghan child, calling it "truly repugnant" and demanding it be taken down.Prime Minister Scott Morrison called a media briefing ...

Editorial »

Dhaka-Sylhet 4-lane project must complete in time

THE impasse over the financing of the Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane project is now over as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has given its consent to provide fund for the project, aimed at making the highway suitable for regional connectivity as well as cross-border and regional trade. The highway will also have ...

International »

DRDO ready with anti-drone system for Indian armed forces

Hindustan Times, New Delhi :The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has designated Bharat Electronics as the lead agency for development and production of much needed anti-drone system for the armed forces.It is understood that anti-drone systems are now a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security detail at his ...

Football »

Neymar hits 50 Ligue 1 goals as PSG draw with Bordeaux

Agency :Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) dropped points for the second Ligue 1 game in a row when they were held to a 2-2 home draw by Girondins de Bordeaux on Saturday, as Neymar reached a milestone by scoring his 50th goal in the league.Timothee Pembele's own goal put Bordeaux ahead and ...

Entertainment »

Farhana Mili in Victory Day`s special drama

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :When International Mother Language Day, Independence Day and Victory Day come special dramas are to be made by the directors. But in case of number which is not more than Eid occasions. In fact, some directors have intention to make exceptional dramas on the occasion of these ...

Editorial »

Do not blame the minister it is the our inherent slavishness that is to be blamed

A REPORT in The New Nation on Saturday said a city hospital doors were closed for about two hours barring outdoor patients from entering the hospital to seek treatment in the peak morning hours on Thursday last. It happened because the Health Minister attended an event inside the hospital to ...

Football »

Rare Joelinton strike helps Newcastle seal late win at Palace

Agency :Perseverance finally paid off for Newcastle United's Brazilian forward Joelinton as he shrugged off a night of frustration to help his side to a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Friday.The 24-year-old's Newcastle career is yet to take off after his 40 million pounds move ...

Business & Economy »

Mohammed Monirul Moula, Additional Managing Director of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, inaugurating its Cash Recycling Machine Booth at Basundhara Residential Area in the capital recently. Mizanur Rahman, Senior Executive Vice President and Md Mozahidul Islam, Head of Baridhara Branch, among others, were present.

City »

Councillor of 26 No Ward of DSCC Hasibur Rahman Manik, among others, offers Munajat after placing floral wreaths at the grave of Mayor Mohammad Hanif at Azimpur Graveyard in the city on Saturday on the occasion of the latter's 14th death anniversary.

City »

LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Tajul Islam speaks at a discussion on 'Development & Industrialization of Chattogram and Future Plan' organised by World Trade Center in Chattogram on Saturday.

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news