The psychophysical problem is analyzed in the context of progressive evolution of complex purposeful living systems. The authors argue that psychological phenomena cannot be reduced to physiological brain processes, explaining potential dangers of the hypothesis of the identity of mental and neurobiological representations of multidimensional reality, which leads to the effect of simplifying of life and complicates the dialogue between neurobiology, cogitology and psychology. Special attention is paid to evolutionary meaning of adaptive and pre-adaptive tasks giving rise to various forms of mental representation of reality, including consciousness as anticipation of the unanticipatable. The authors look at relations of different forms of representation of reality and the supporting neurobiological nets arguing that among sciences studying the nature of life psychology is a science of stability and variability of complex systems looking into laws of accumulating pre-adaptive potential of life and its personalization.
The paper traces the interrelationships between existential psychology and mainstream academic psychology of personality in history and in our days. The critical points of their intersection are traced: “nonclassical breakthrough” of the late 1920s-early 1930s, “humanistic revolution” of the 1960s and the subsequent transformation of psychological science in the 1970s, birth and growth of positive psychology in the 2000s. The analysis reveals growing convergence of these two lines which took the most pointed shape recently, along with the growing challenge of uncertainty in the present-day world. The basis for the integration of existential psychology into academic science is the emerging “functional paradigm” of psychological explanation, based on the primacy of non-stop autoregulated individual-world interaction that presents an alternative to the reactive-dispositional paradigm that has been prevailing in psychology through the 20th century.