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Cartesian self

in the system of René Descartes, the knowing subject or ego. The Cartesian self is capable of one fundamental certainty because, even if all else is subject to doubt, one cannot seriously doubt that one is thinking, as to doubt is to think. Thus, Descartes concludes, cogito ergo sum (“I am thinking, therefore I exist”). From this position, Descartes argues that all ideas intuited by the self with the same clarity and distinctness as the cogito must be equally true; this enables the intuition of further indubitable truths, such as the existence of God and the external world. However, since the ideas clearest to the self are the contents of the mind, the notion of the Cartesian self has led to a radical dualism between the inner life of the mind (subjectivity) and the outer world of things (objectivity). It has also led to the idea that knowledge is necessarily subjective and has opened the question as to how the outer world, including other human beings, can be known except as an idea. See Cartesian dualism; egocentric predicament; solipsism.

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Psychology term of the day

June 16th 2024

job analysis

job analysis

the collection and analysis of information about a specific job. Data are obtained through interviews with or written questionnaires from those doing or supervising the job, or through observation or audiovisual recordings of the job in action. Important classes of information include the behaviors, tools, working conditions, and skills involved in the job. Job analysis is the first step in developing effective personnel selection, employee evaluation, job evaluation, and personnel training programs. Once data have been collected, the role of the job analyst is to use statistical techniques and subjective judgment to determine the primary dimensions of a job and to identify those positions that are sufficiently similar to be classified as the same job.