Darwin, el gran psicólogo

CORONADO, CALIFORNIA – La mayoría de las personas no ven a Charles Darwin como un psicólogo. De hecho, su trabajo revolucionó este campo. Antes de Darwin, la especulación filosófica definía nuestro entendimiento psicológico. No obstante, incluso los grandes filósofos –Platón, Aristóteles, Hobbes, Hume, Locke, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, entre otros– podían describir solamente los acontecimientos y conductas mentales corrientes, pero no sus causas.

Darwin llegó a la importante conclusión de que la evolución ha influenciado la configuración de nuestras mentes al mismo grado que la configuración de nuestros cuerpos. Visto que los humanos evolucionaron de los mismos ancestros primates que los chimpancés o gorilas modernos, Darwin señaló que se podía obtener más información comparando los instintos, emociones y conductas humanos con los de los animales, que con la especulación subjetiva. Así pues, sostuvo que “quien comprenda al mandril podrá hacer más por la metafísica que Locke.”

La filosofía no es adecuada para entender el origen de la psicología humana porque la auto reflexión no nos hace conscientes de las fuerzas que estimulan gran parte de nuestras reacciones hacia el medio ambiente. En cambio, estamos sujetos a tendencias innatas, que se desarrollan mediante fuerzas mutuamente influyentes de selección natural y sexual.

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