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• • The word "psychology" is the combination of two Latin words - study (ology) and soul (psyche), or mind. The scientific study of the human mind and its functions.

5 Pschologists and their contributions:
1. Sigmund Freud may be one of the best known figures in history, but he is also one of the most

controversial. He was the founder of the school of thought known as psychoanalysis. 2. Clark Hull was a major figure in behaviorism. His ideas, including his drive reduction theory, were once dominant forces in psychology prior to the cognitive revolution of the 1960s. 3. Socrates - One of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of antiquity. He devoted his life and work to moral philosophy and to the search for moral good, virtue and justice. The main method he used was dialectics (the method of seeking knowledge by question and answer) by which he tried to teach men how ignorant they were and to help them know themselves. His contribution to philosophy was highly significant, especially because in Socrates, it is not the heavenly bodies, earth, clouds, etc., that were of value but the universe of the human soul. He was found guilty, and sentenced to death, by a jury of his Athenian peers for corrupting the young and not acknowledging the gods of the city. 4. -Plato - Wrote the Republic. Duality of the Psyche. Plato was author of some 31 philosophical dialogues, and founder, in 387, of the Academy, in Athens. He was considered one of the most significant thinkers of antiquity. Plato, despite his aristocratic origin and his parents' plans for his political or petic career, devoted his life to philosophy, first as a devoted pupil of Socrates, and later by founding his own school of philosophy, the Academy. Plato held far-reaching views on the creation of the world, which have been preserved in the dialogue Timaeus, while his work the Republic, is perhaps the world's most important political science text. 5. -Thales - was the first known Greek philosopher, physicist and mathematician. He is credited with 5 theorems of geometry. He predicted an eclipse of the sun in 585 BC. He also concluded that water is the original substance from which all other things come--earth, air, and living things. His contributions to psychology were his discussion of the nature of matter.
6. -Pythagoras was a pupil of Thales. He was a mathematician and

philsopher and born on the Island of Samos. He died in southern Italy, then called Magna Graecia. Pythagoras was the son of a jeweler named Mnesarchus and his beautiful wife Pythais.He developed the label "philosopher" and was the first to call himself a philosoper--lover of knowledge.

7. Aristotle was the greatest systematic philosopher of antiquity. He was the

first to philosophise on the basis of science. Because of his great knowledge, especially in the physical sciences, he became known in history as a "panepistimon" or man of all sciences. Aristotle developed the dialectical method in logic, not in the Socratic sense of the dialogue but as a process consisting of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, which then becomes the new thesis.


Psychology evolved from philosophy, science, medicine and theology. Psychology evolved out of a coalescence of natural science and the branch of philosophy known as epistemology or the theory of knowledge. In the beginning, psychology was a 3-way synthesis of physics, physiology and mental philosophy. The roots of psychology go back to Egypt and the Egyptian mystery system. Early psychology focused on measuring and understanding the mind. Later psychology focused on measuring and understanding behavior. Observation and interpretation of data were the business of the philosopher. Beginning with the Ancient Greeks, philosophers learned a great deal about the world around them, and attempted to arrange their learning in an orderly way, and speculated on its meaning. As philosophers increased their knowledge, they developed specialties within the field of philosophy. Psychology was housed under philosophy as "Mental Philosophy" which was concerned with psychological principles. The other specialties under philosophy were "Natural Philosophy" which dealt with the areas of physics,

chemistry and the natural sciences; and "Moral Philosophy" which dealt with the social sciences and ethical considerations. Once you become familiar with the history of psychology, you will see that psychology and knowledge in general has evolved as man has evolved -- both in consciousness and intellect or knowledge. Psychology did not become an independent discipline separate from philosophy until the late 19th century. The search for knowledge was the quest of the early philosopher scientists -the desire to know. Psychology was interwoven in early science and philosophy.

Egypt was known for its Egyptian Mystery System or set of secret doctrines, since knowledge was power in those days. Only the privileged few had access to knowledge and they kept this knowledge secret and passed most of it on in secret societies. The Egyptians are also reported to have been prolific writers, but few knew how to translate their writing system of Hieroglyphics and Coptic. It has only been in recent decades that Egyptologists were able to understand the early writings.

In Greek mythology there were four Ages of Man: The Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron (or Heroic) ages. The Gods and Goddesses were: Poseidon (Sea); Apollo (Sun); Hera & Zeus (Heaven); Athene (Wisdom); Hermes (Messenger); Artemis (Hunting); and, Aphrodite (Love). The early Greeks had a tremendous confidence in their superior ability for reasoning.They also used naturalistic observations to derive at theories and hypotheses. Their reasoning was called rationalism - the search for the essence of things. (Now known as the deductive method). They saw the world as a macrocosm and man as a microcosm.


Wisdom for the conduct of life. Knowledge derived from the Greeks. Increased separation of science and philosophy.

Progress made by men who stood in the shadow of Aristotle, e.g., Theophrastus (372 BC-) and Galen. Psychology was most advanced by Theophrastus. The Hellenistic period is often referred to as the twilight of Greek thinking. It is also the period in which a decline in intellectualism began in the Mediterranean and Alexandria. Psychology is still a branch of philosophy. Greek science extended over a period of 800 years. It began with the earliest philosopher/scientists of the sixth century BC and continued to the 2nd or 3rd century of the Christian era. Some of Aristotle's students begin to make significant contributions to psychology (e.g., Theophrastus). Greek scientific thought transmitted to the Arabs.

Known as the period of the church fathers--and devoted to the formation of Christian Orthodoxy. Influentials included Origen, Plotinus, and St. Augustine. The church and Christianity influenced psychology - especially the teachings of Jesus as taught to theologians by Origen. [Origen was one of the intellectual theologians and leaders of the church. He believed that philosophy and science are compatible with the church.]

Period focused on dualism of mind and body and supernaturalism -- or that which was beyond nature. Supernaturalism led a preoccupation with the world to come rather than the world as it exists. Important contributors include: -Plotinus - an Egyptian, who moved to Rome. He talked about a mystical reunion with the world soul and development of the individual toward perfection. -Augustine - Addressed unity and conflict. He was consulted on all psychological matters. He believed that a major source of knowledge of self was by means of reflection, a form of meditation by which we can come to know our soul. Augustine believed that miracles are simply unusual occurrences and require no more and no less explanation than any other event. If they were not rare, they would not cause surprise.

The early part of the period was referred to as the Dark Ages due to the halt of scientific advancement, misgovernment, civil wars, barbarian people, discord, and the dismantling of the monetary system. There was top heavy bureaucracies, civil wars, and barbarian peoples in some areas. The uniformity of Roman law gave way to a maze of discordant local customs. The universal monetary system of the Romans also disappeared. There were chaotic systems of government and low standards of living. Also, there was widespread illiteracy. Science and culture suffered during this period. In some areas religious scholarship survived. There were no psychological advance made during this period; and very little interest in Psychology. The works of Aristotle and Plato were even lost. Islam was developed during this period. Islam means "surrender to God." The followers were known as Muslims. Sicily and Spain came under the domination of Islam. Hellenic civilization also merged into Muslim culture. The birth of Islam and the Muslim faith occurred in the middle part of the Middle Ages. Muslims assumed positions of leadership in government, the military and religious affairs. Universities did not come into real prominence until the 13th century. They came into being with the expansion of knowledge. For example, youth in the 11th century entered monasteries; youth in the 13th century attended universities.

Universities began to emerge toward the latter part of the Middle Ages -- the University of Bologna, University of Paris, Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The curricula included art, natural ethics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, law and medicine. During this period, Arabic scholars also had added valuable observations in medicine and had added a variety of new perspectives to philosophy. Translations included religious, philosophical, medical, science -- such as optics, geology and math. Introduction of these texts and translations divided the middle ages into what can be known as 2 distinct periods: a) the early middle ages, without the benefits and knowledge; and, b) the later middle ages, with ancient knowledge and science restored. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the "Summa Contra Theologica", an introduction to Christian theology. (Click on the hyper link or go to lessons above to find an overview of the life and works of Aquinas). He was also author of commentaries on Aristotle and various books of the Bible. A reawakening of knowledge occurred in the late middle ages.

A period of general and literary enrichment. Also called the Age of Reason. This period was a scientific and philosophical movement which started in France and took hold in Britain and Germany. Its new ideas about human progress through science and reason strongly influenced the revolutionary leaders in America and France. Called the "Enlightenment," or Age of Reason. Was a scientific and philosophical movement which started in France and took hold in Britain and Germany. Its new ideas about human progress through science and reason strongly influenced the revolutionary leaders in America and France. Scientists of the Enlightenment were very keen to find out about the world, nature, chemistry, and physics. Renaissance men were discovering ancient geography through translations of ancient manuscripts. There was development of a new education with a new curriculum. The field of psychology was broadened.

The emphasis was on methodology, science and mathematics. Also know as the "Scientific Revolution." Influential scientists included Francis Bacon, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, William Harvey, Napier. Francis Bacon was one of the first men to study nature by using scientific observation. Developed an empirical methodology and inductive reasoning. It is reported that he translated the first King James version of the Bible and was the true writer of Shakespeare and other Elizabethan literature. Was considered the first English essayist. It is also reported that he secretly laid the groundwork for the establishment of the United States of America. -In his works Novum Organum, Advancement of Learning, and New Atlantis, Bacon outlined his views of what science should become. He proposed drastic changes in scientific procedure. -He died from a chill after stuffing a fowl with snow. He was studying refrigeration. Galileo was the first to turn a telescope to the skies to map the galaxy. He provided evidence that the earth was not the fixed center of the universe, but that it and all the other planets revolved around the sun. Galileo also observed the moon's "seas" and mountains, the planets and the stars of the Milky Way. His studies included the laws of "falling bodies" using experiments and mathematics. He studied the pendulum and designed a clock. William Harvey conducted experiments and microscopic observations that proved that the blood circulates around the body. Isaac Newton, laid the foundations of modern science. He worked on mathematical calculus, light and gravity and invented his own reflecting telescope. He worked out laws on gravity and how things move, using observation and mathematics. He found out that white light was made up of a rainbow, or "spectrum," of colored light. Napier, a Scottish mathematician invented logarithms. He invented a calculating system using rods of bone.

IX. BRITISH EMPIRICISM (17th & 18th Century)
Empiricism became a viable alternative to rationalism. Focused primarily on associationism - the ways in which mental events are connected. They accepted the Baconian proposition that science must start from observations that are collected carefully and from which cautious generalizations are made. Empiricism places the origin of mind in sensation and explains the higher mental processes such as memory, thinking and imagination as complexes of persistent impressions held together by associations. Associations exist due to certain conditions that were present at the time of the impression such as repetition and contiguity. They believed that mind is built from sensory experiences (sense); these experiences provide elemental ideas or memories which come together to form complex ideas by virtue of association. Thus, the field of psychology was becoming more empirical and moving away from rationalism during the British empirical system.

Advanced initially by German psychologists (Wundt and others). They believed that an experiment was a way of testing a theory. Instead of passively observing nature, experimenters actively interfere in natural phenomena. The goal of an experiment is to put nature to question. During this period great strides were being made in the understanding of the nervous system. Physiologists were moving closer to psychology. This was the beginning of the development of physiological psychology. Physiology became an experimental discipline in the 1830s. Physiology emerging in the 19th century influenced psychologists to turn their attention to searching for neural mechanisms underlying behavior. This was the beginning of the development of neurology and brain functioning. This was the beginning of the development of psychophysics.

Many of the Americans interested in psychology studied in Germany with the German psychologists; among them William James and Edward Titchener.

XI. FRENCH PSYCHOLOGY (Late 18th to Early 19th Century)
Advanced the study of Psychopathology and Intelligence. Just before the beginning of the 19th century, France became the first country to begin to develop adequate care for the insane and the feeble-minded. French psychologists focused on psychopathological behavior. Contributed to the development of pathological psychology.

Considered the first truly American system of psychology. William James called the founder of modern psychology. Developed a functional psychology which included the study of consciousness. Was considered the leading American forerunner of functionalism, with his 2volume work, The Principles of Psychology, (1890). His functional psychology included the study of consciousness as an ongoing process or stream. The focus was on the study of mind and the function of thought. Functionalism's primary interest was the study of mind as it functions in adapting the organism to its environment. Today's psychology is said to be functionalistic because of its emphasis on learning, intelligence, testing, perception and other functional processes.