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A History of Modern Psychology

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A History of Modern Psychology
Psychology 310-History and Systems of Psychology
October 7, 2013

Abstract
Philosophy has been said to be the mother of all disciplines. Philosophy is the oldest disciplines studied and has influenced modern science. Natural and social science have their roots in philosophy. Modern sciences are influenced by philosophy and are similar to philosophical questions. Understanding the way problems are addressed by philosophers is essential to understanding the science of psychology. Philosophers paved the way for modern psychology. Aristotle was a very famous philosopher and was called the father of psychology. Aristotle created idealism which believes that the mind and reasoning cannot exist without the body. Plato was also a philosopher. He taught theories based on the behaviors of humans like impulses and reasoning. Rene Descartes, another philosopher determined that psychology is an actual discipline. There are several philosophers that have influenced 19th Century philosophy. Edward Hitzig and John Locke are respected 19th Century philosophers, just to name a few. These philosophers have had an impact on 19th Century philosophy like no other. Their discoveries provide a different perspective on modern psychology. ("Understanding Learners", n.d.).

Psychology as a Discipline
According to "Understanding Learners" (n.d.), “Psychology as a discipline aims to describe behavior, explain behavior, predict behavior and control or modify some behavior”. (2). Rene Descartes was a French philosopher and mathematician. Descartes believed that ideas of the mind body and inherit knowledge. Descartes also believed that humans have a material body and a non-material spiritual mind. The human mind’s powers are supreme according to Descartes. He believed that the body could have an influence on the mind; however, the mind is superior to the body. ("Understanding Learners", n.d.).
John Locke founded the study of human knowledge and its acquisition. Locke rejected the concept of innate ideas. Locke believed that all of human knowledge comes from the world and the experiences that people have. John Locke believed that the interaction between mind and body is equal. He believed that the mind needs the body for its information while the body needs the mind to process experiences.
Goodwin (2008) stated, “Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas; how comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store, which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from experience; in that, all our knowledge is founded, and from that it ultimately derives itself”. (p. 39). Locke believed that the human mind was a blank slate at birth and what a person experiences becomes the writings on their brain. He believed that each idea comes from reflections and sensations. Sensation is the information that is taken in from the environment and reflections are mental activities that occur while processing information. Locke also made a comparison between complex ideas and simple ideas. Complex ideas are a combination of simple and complex ideas. Simple ideas are a result of simple sensory. Locke introduced the concept of association and several other concepts and theories. (Goodwin, 2008).

Philosophers of Western Tradition

Plato is another well respected philosopher during the western time period of psychology. He believed that reality was not determined from concrete objects but are abstracts formed in our minds. Plato was considered to be a rationalist that believed knowledge is acquired through thinking and analyzing the world. Finally, he believed that the body and mind interact with each other but are not the same. The mind is superior to the body. Reality is found through thinking and not through observation. ("Understanding Learners", n.d.). Socrates has been credited for being a founder of Western Philosophy. Socrates was also known for his Socratic dialogue. He would gather information from his students by asking a variety of questions and studying their answers. Socrates believed that value is having knowledge and being true to yourself, and hold no grudges. He believed that the soul defined a person. He was known for criticizing those of authority and was even tried for corrupting the morals of Athenian youth and for religious heresies. Socrates was found guilty and sentenced to death. ("Socrates", 1995-2000).
Nineteenth Century Psychology

Nineteenth century psychology has discovered that the nature of electricity is being used to conduct research on sensory physiology and that neural activity was electrochemical. Edward Hitzig, a nineteenth century philosopher studied muscle movements of a wounded soldier. The injured soldier’s brain was exposed and had been mechanically stimulated. During the study, Hitzig realized that although the brain was being stimulated, it had no effects. Hitzig decided to do a similar study on dogs. During this test, he exposed the cortex and probed various surfaces and provided stimuli. This stimulus was electricity and barley evoked sensation. The study provided evidence that localization by identifying several motor sensors in the front part of the dog’s brain. (Goodwin, 2008). Goodwin (2008) stated “This activity became known as the “new” phrenology or “scientific phrenology”. (p. 86).

References

The Basics of Philosophy. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.philosophybasics.com

Understanding Learners. (n.d.).
Retrieved from http://www.peoplelearn.homestead.com/chapter_1.history.pdf

Goodwin, C.J. (2008). A History of Modern Psychology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Socrates. (1995-2000).
Retrieved from http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/phil/philo/phils/socrates…...

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