With the Age of Enlightenment, a sociocultural transformation process began on a large scale. This process can defined concisely by the triple trends of individualization, secularization, and scientification (Kohls 2004; Benedikter 2001; 2005). As a consequence, rational and scientific concepts replaced those of religion and spirituality in social life. This was especially true for the role of institutionalized religion as a genuine compass for social values and an epistemological framework as well as for morally and socially acceptable behavior. In the main, religious adherence was gradually substituted by a pluralism of scientific concepts and by philosophical systems. With the rise of academic psychology in the 1880s as a new, independent scientific field of inquiry, the explaining of consciousness and its underlying mechanisms became the focus of science in accordance with the aforementioned Zeitgeist as predicted by French thinker Auguste Comte. Psychology as a secular, rational, and “measuring” science overtook religion and philosophy as the new center of intellectual and perhaps social gravity. It was within this new paradigm that the “essence of the human being” was now to be studied.
These developments had enormous impact on the explicit and implicit interpretational frameworks for explaining consciousness and the scientific theories of mind that emerged of the time. Of note is that, in the first half of the nineteenth century, a paradigm shift also occurred in biology and medicine. The focus of studies about the nature of mind moved from anatomy to physiology.
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