Tu Bao : But let’s think about this. Even if the subjectivity of novels does not impair the precision of how you learn about human personality and life from, but from a scientific view, the knowledge that you gained on the characters’ personalities can be flawed as it may not be applicable to the human race as a whole. Charis : Because it’s written by the author from his perception. Tu Bao : Exactly. Charis : This is tricky. But see, referring back to Regeneration, the main character, Seigfried Sassoon does not automatically make us gain knowledge about the soldiers that are experiencing post-war effects in Craiglockgart as a whole.
However, we are still able to gain the notion of culture through it. Does it make sense? Tu Bao : Hmmm… Charis : My mom told me that “behind every book is a man, behind the man is a culture, and behind the culture there are natural and social environments whose influence is unconsciously reflected back in the book”. Tu Bao : So, by reading novels we can gain knowledge of factors that contribute to the behaviour of people in the author’s background? Charis : Yeah.
By the way, since you are taking Scientific Psychology as one of your subjects, as a science subject, it needs to be unbiased and therefore has a strict set of rules for how research methods are carried out and presented, right? Tu Bao : Yes. If these research methods are valid, it is a factual claim. These factual claims are what separate scientific psychology the most from novels. Charis : True, but at the same time scientific psychology is so restrained by the strict research methods which makes it unable to explain knowledge of personality as broadly as novel, thus, making it harder for us to obtain the knowledge.
Tu Bao : You’ve got a point there. Charis : But you’re not wrong entirely as well, Tu Bao because these valid research methods from scientific psychology surveys are more efficient when examining the human race as a whole. What I think is that Chomsky’s quote implies that these surveys can fulfil some parts of the holistic nature of knowledge or personality but only if the questions in the survey are specific and answered extensively. Tu Bao : Come to think about it, I think it is impossible to actually gain specific knowledge of past civilization through these scientific research methods.
Charis : So, both ways are not reliable at all? Tu Bao : To some extent, they are both reliable. Even though being somewhat crippled by being impacted by value judgements, I think novels are able to expose a wider view of the long-time change of human behaviour whereas psychological surveys can do so more accurately without being limited to value judgements. Charis : True. Alright, let’s look at Chomsky’s statement again. It says “learn more” which means the amount of knowledge we can gain. So, novels are able to provide a much larger amount of knowledge than scientific psychology.
Tu Bao : But, the different perspectives of scientific psychology explain the ways of knowing more thoroughly compared to novels because how perception change and the nature of emotions it can only be described in words. Being a student studying scientific psychology, I think we study more in depth and it is crucial to explain the ways of knowing in a holistic view of the human life and personality. Charis : Interesting. In that case, we can agree that novels dominate the areas of knowledge while scientific psychology explains the workings of the ways of knowing.
But, have you ever thought that this can only be accessed to is one is literate? Novels depend solely on written language to transfer knowledge, lowering its ability as a medium to gain more knowledge. Tu Bao : So, because of that, one has to rely on his or her experience to gain knowledge about the human personality and life. Charis : Yeah. Tu Bao : You know, if Chomsky did not use the word “scientific” in his quote, this discussion would have been entirely different.
This is because psychology would then have a wider scale and be able to cover much more personality aspects and still retain some of its accuracy. Charis : But, oh well, after having this conversation, we still cannot decide which is more reliable than the other. Tu Bao : That’s because both novels and scientific psychology are possible mediums for us to gain knowledge of human life and human personality. So, we cannot be certain as there are no definitive answers which are the right sources for us to do that. Charis : Alright. Let’s leave this before I become even more confused.