Darwin, der größte Psychologe

CORONADO, KALIFORNIEN – Für die meisten Menschen ist Charles Darwin kein Psychologe. Tatsache ist aber, dass seine Arbeit das Fach revolutioniert hat. Vor Darwin war unser psychologisches Verständnis von philosophischer Spekulation geprägt. Aber sogar große Philosophen – Platon, Aristoteles, Hobbes, Hume, Locke, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche und andere – konnten nur aktuelle mentale Ereignisse und Verhaltensweisen beschreiben, nicht aber ihre Ursachen erklären.

Darwin hat die weitreichende Erkenntnis geliefert, dass die Evolution unsere Psyche ebenso stark geformt hat wie unseren Körper. Da sich der Mensch aus denselben Primaten-Vorfahren entwickelt hat wie Schimpansen oder Gorillas, schlug Darwin vor, man könne mehr aus dem Vergleich menschlicher Instinkte, Emotionen und Verhaltensweisen mit denen der Tiere lernen, als durch subjektive Spekulationen. Er drückte es so aus: „Wer einen Pavian versteht, hat mehr für die Metaphysik getan als Locke“.

Mit Philosophie allein kann man die Wurzeln der menschlichen Psychologie nicht verstehen, da Selbstreflexion uns nicht die Kräfte bewusst macht, die die meisten unserer Reaktionen auf die Umwelt antreiben. Wir unterliegen angeborenen Tendenzen, die durch die sich gegenseitig beeinflussenden Kräfte der natürlichen und sexuellen Selektion entstehen.

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