Formation of Psychology Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 4 November 2016

Formation of Psychology

Many Philosophers majorly influenced the development of modern psychology in the nineteenth century. In this essay, I will begin by discussing three of the major eastern philosophers that contributed to the formation of psychology as a discipline. I will then discuss the development of psychology during the nineteenth century and the contributions made by these philosophers.

Human behavior is a subject that has been thought about for centuries but was not properly recorded until scientific experimentation was performed. There were many major philosophers responsible for the development of psychology but I will focus on John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume. These philosophers are significant in the development of psychology as a discipline and without them; psychology would not be what it is today. John Locke, 1632-1704, was the founder of British Empiricism. He spent his life mainly as a lecturer and tutor, but also as a philosopher, politician, diplomat, and was also trained in medicine.

Locke’s main belief was that upon birth, the mind is a blank slate and would be written upon one’s personal experiences; meaning that you come into this life with no prior knowledge and everything you learn is what you have perceived in your time while living. Goodwin (2008) states that Locke believed that every idea we have comes from only two sources, sensation and reflection. Sensation refers to the way our mind processes information grasped through our sensation in a given environment while reflection refers to information we have processed with the use of our senses and our memory.

Locke argued against the use of punishment in children; which makes a great deal of impact on psychological behavior and a child’s willingness to act out. George Berkeley was born in Ireland and lived from the year 1685 to the year 1753. Throughout his years, he lived as a philosopher, deacon and missionary. His theories from the seventeenth century developed into Materialism in the nineteenth century. His work on vision was the first systematic example of how empiricist thinking could be applied to the study of perception.

Berkeley made theories of how the perceptions of objects depend on experience and instead of us seeing things straight on; we judge them on our experiences of distance and size. Berkeley poses a threat to the act of free will through determinism, which is the belief that something causes every event. Materialism is the theory that the only existing things are matter or energy; all things are made up of atoms and each event is the result of material interactions.

Without Berkeley’s contributions to the development of materialism, psychology would not include the argument of perception. Each individual perceives each instance in a different way; an object I may judge as being a yard away could be perceived as five yards away for another. David Hume was known for the development of the Rules of Association.

He was born in Scotland, in the year 1711 and died in the year of 1776. Hume believed that all similar or simultaneous ideas are somehow associated with one another. He came up with three laws to support his theories: resemblance, contiguity, and cause and effect. Goodwin (2008) summarized Hume as being known for making a distinction between impressions, which resulted from sensation, and ideas, which were faint copies of impressions.

The development of psychology as a discipline was greatly impacted by David Hume, without his contributions to the Rules of Association modern day psychology would still be questioning the relationships of thoughts and patterns between one another. Hume’s contributions expanded through more theories outside of the Rules of Association and included sentimentalism, emotivism, ethical expressivism, non-cognitivism, and the error theory. The research and theories he provided played roles in the development in all of the fore listed theories

making Hume a philosopher that played great impact in the development of psychology. The nineteenth century brought great advances in science in many areas from steel to electricity but also brought many advances in the science of psychology. In the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin’s theories developed into Darwinism. Sigmund Freud developed the theory of psychoanalysis, which compromised the idea of human beings having rationality and free will. The newly developed theories in the nineteenth century caused an uprising suggesting that we do not 1 / 2 know the universe, whereas, the prior sciences suggested a clear thinking, all-knowing world.

The science of Psychology has slowly been in development since the fourth and fifth centuries. Although the science has grown dramatically since the beginning, it still relies on its roots of philosophy. Without the great impact of the world’s best philosophers, the science of psychology would not be what it is today. References: Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A History of Modern Psychology (3rd ed. ). : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Chapters 1 & 2. POWERED BY TCPDF (WWW. TCPDF. ORG).


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