My Research: The Intersection Between Philosophy and Psychology and Why Does It Matter

What exactly do I research? The best way I’ve come to express that where I put my effort and interests in is the word “intersection”. I research Philosophy-Psychology intersections.

Topics belonging to the Philosophy or Psychology fields are not just approachable by the other. For example, the mind is regarded as a psychological theme, and philosophy of mind would be the philosophical approach to it; theories and reflections on the topic, its nature, its ontological implications, and so on.

This is interesting and also relevant. However, “intersection” wants to say something like “inherently complementary” or perhaps even the “inseparable” nature of both disciplines. Some psychological themes are intrinsically philosophical. And by definition and in a fruitful discussion, some philosophical themes rely on psychological evidence. Consider the following questions: what is it to be rational? what is consciousness? is our consciousness special? if it exists… why do we need it? what does it mean to decide our actions? to what extent do we own our actions? All of these are formulated philosophically. However, the role of empirical evidence in answering them is undeniable.

If not obvious at first, take the famous Libet experiment as a paradigmatic example of the Philosophy-Psychology intersection concerning the free-will problem. In exploring the psychological reality of what is commonly called “the will”, researchers measured brain activity in a button-pressing task in which they (tried to) measure the time of the “will” (the freely-chosen pressing moment) and the movement execution correlates of the brain to see “which one came in first”. Is our intention or “will” a side effect of our brain activity? Or does our brain respond to our intentions? The experiment intended to reveal which one really determines the participant’s button-pressing. The results are clearly of philosophical interest but, at the same time, the discussion is not separable from (existing or potential) empirical evidence. Free will, then, lies at the intersection.

Greek letters “Phi” (left) and “Psy” (right)

I not only think that Philosophy and Psychology intersect inherently in some topics. I also take it as a must. Where they meet, any investigation carried forward by any of the two alone will run short. So, this is the answer to the question of what do I write about: what I create is the content and the place for acknowledging and discussing Philosophical and Psychological inherent intersections.

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