Welcome to the first post of our bridging the gap series. As you know, psychology is diverse and has ties with so many other subject areas, so it’s important that we explore the connections between them. Here we’ll provide you with 5 books that we think are the perfect starting point for bridging the gap between psychology and a related discipline, in this case: Philosophy.
Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts – Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson
Tavris and Aronson take a sobering look into the sheer scale of human self-deception. Why do we convince ourselves that we are not responsible for our mistakes? Why do we blame other people and think we are always right? How do we always manage to conjure up a fiction for self-justification?
The authors discuss extensive research and the psychological mechanisms that explain why we deceive ourselves into self-justification, its consequences and how we can avoid it. The book will make you reconsider modern moral philosophy in an empirical, psychological light.
Free Will – Sam Harris
Many non-philosophers may take the notion of free will as a given – it would seem illogical to have laws, morals, religious beliefs or even emotions without the concept that humans are free to make their own choices. In Free Will, Harris addresses the common philosophical free will debate with what initially appears to be a counter intuitive approach.
He suggests that free will is in fact, a myth, pointing to neuroscientific research as evidence for his claims. Yet the facts about free will – or the absence of it – do not compromise the moral and political freedom necessary for our established systems. Rather, they should change our perspective on other important questions about life.
Sam Harris can be controversial, but he never fails to be thought-provoking
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves – Stephen Grosz
Grosz contemplates a thought dating back as far as Socrates: that the unexamined life is a life not worth living. Through a number of engaging stories, Grosz highlights the underlying thoughts and feelings behind both common and peculiar behaviours of patients that have gone unconsidered for too long.
Grosz provides answers to some of the most debated, thought-provoking and troubling life questions, prompting us to reconsider who we are and why we behave like we do.
The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious – Carl Jung
We had to include some classics in the list, and Jung’s (and Freud’s) work was some of the most influential in bridging the gap between psychology and philosophy. The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious, provides valuable insight into analytical, Jungian thought.
The thoughts presented reflect the end of Jung and Freud’s association and show how Jung attempted to incorporate Freudian thought into his conception of how the unconscious and the conscious self interact.
The Ego and the ID – Sigmund Freud
Another classic, Freud’s The Ego and the Id reflects his thoughts on a very similar topic to Jung, in which he saw the human psyche as a tripartite system consisting of the Id, Ego and Superego.
Freud’s thoughts on how the different components of the psyche govern behaviour provided the foundations for much psychological/philosophical debate as to what the human psyche comprises of. It therefore serves as an excellent starting point, along with Jung’s work, for exploring the conscious and unconscious mind.
There you go. Have a read of some of those books and let us know your thoughts.
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