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Historical Perspectives In Psychology Essay

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Psychology 101, What Are The Historical Perspectives In Psychology?
In this Psychology 101 article, we ask what are the historical perspectives in psychology?

Now, this question provokes a thesis on its own, but here we evaluate specific times of extraordinary turning points leading to where we are today.

We are all psychologists in our own right.

We have the innate ability to draw conclusions by watching the behaviours of others.

So, where, whom and what legitimizes psychology as a science and how did we arrive there?

It ...view middle of the document...

Logos means 'knowledge', 'study' as many 'ologies' mean. In Greek mythology, psyche was represented by a butterfly who became the wife of Eros, the God of Love. We know her as Cupid (renamed by the Romans later).

Psychology was originally defined, therefore, as 'the study of the mind', however the above definition is generally accepted as the working definition today.

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Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking Truth in the Sciences
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Meditations on First Philosophy
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Descartes - Discourse On Method
Long before Psychology's official birth, philosophers such as Socrates (470-399 BC), Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) and Plato (428 - 347 BC) were seeking truth through thinking. The idea of psychology, therefore, has evolved and changed over many centuries.

Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650) contributed as a philosopher to the realms of Psychology today. He looked at issues surround the 'Mind-Body Problem' in 'Discourse on Method' in 1637 and 'The Meditations' in 1941.

Nature (Nativist) Versus Nurture
The focus here is on Platonic Dualism where the mind influences the body as a one way interaction. Descartes believed differently. The mind has a single function of thought (Rationalism) and produces ideas from external stimuli on the senses and innate ideas from the conscious self.

Now we see the birth of the Nature (Nativist) Versus Nurture debate.

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Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) - Transcendentalism. Already existing concepts of cause helps people to have objective experiences. There are three mental activies - Knowing, Feeling and Willing. Transcental explanations are influences outside experiences that build upon existing experiences.
John Locke (1632 - 1704) - The Mind Is A Clean Slate and develops only from experience - 'The Theory Of Association'.

Hume (1711 - 1776) - Associationism - We assume cause and effect associations through experiencing pairs of events.


Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind, Volume 1
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Auguste Comte (1798 - 1857) and Positivism (later, Logical Positivists). The father of sociology who believed in a science of society and not the science of the mind. The connection between observable facts is a positive method. Anything beyond this can not be counted. This is Positivism. The idea is to reduce the facts to it's most simple common denominator. This is Reductionism. This idea can be formed as the basis of psychological measurement in research today.
James Mill (1773 - 1836) - Father, J S Mill (1806 - 1873) - Son and Utilitarianism (striving for the 'greatest happiness of the greatest number'). James mill - 'Analysis of the...

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