Darwin, le plus grand des psychologues

CORONADO, CALIFORNIE – La plupart des gens ne considèrent pas Charles Darwin comme un psychologue. Pourtant son travail a révolutionné ce domaine. Avant Darwin, la spéculation philosophique façonnait notre compréhension psychologique. Mais même les grands philosophes (Platon, Aristote, Hobbes, Hume, Locke, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, entre autres) ne pouvaient décrire les événements et les comportements mentaux courants, ils ne pouvaient pas en expliquer les causes.

Darwin a fourni l'intuition profonde selon laquelle l'évolution aurait influencé la forme de notre esprit aussi fortement que la forme de notre corps. Depuis que les humains ont évolué à partir du même ancêtre primate que les chimpanzés ou les gorilles actuels, il a suggéré qu'on pourrait en apprendre davantage en comparant les instincts humains, les émotions et les comportements, avec ceux des animaux chez qui l'on peut présumer une forme de spéculation subjective. Selon ses propres termes, « celui qui comprendra babouin fera plus pour la métaphysique que Locke ».

La philosophie ne suffit pas pour comprendre les racines de la psychologie humaine, parce que l'introspection ne nous rend pas conscients des forces qui animent la plupart de nos réactions à l'environnement. Au contraire, nous sommes soumis à des tendances innées, qui se développent à travers les forces à l'influence réciproque de la sélection naturelle et sexuelle.

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