The History of Psychology
November 23, 2010
The study of the human mind and psychology started in ancient philosophy. Greek philosophers such as Plato and Descartes marked the beginning of the science of psychology. Many years later Wilhelm Wundt founded scientific psychology including the first research laboratory in psychology at the University of Leipzig. Wilhelm Wundt’s Gestalts psychology never became mainstream even though it had greatly influenced the beginnings of American psychology.
Philosophies Contribution to Psychology Greek philosophers such as Plato Galen and Descartes began to study thought and behavior and form ideas on their observations. Their ideas about human behavior were
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In a few of Plato's works, we are told that the soul always retains the ability to recollect what it once grasped of the forms, when it was disembodied (see especially Meno), and that the lives we lead are to some extent a punishment or reward for choices we made in a previous existence (see especially the final pages of Republic). (kraut 2009) Galen a Greek physician borrowing work from Hippocrates proposed that behaviors were caused by an overabundance of certain bodily fluids. Galen determined that depressed individuals have too much black bile and apathetic individuals possessed too much phlegm. These ideas were based on rationalism not scientific study. Galen’s ideas explained behaviors as physical imbalances instead of supernatural causes. The idea and rise of mechanism where the universe was a giant machine and must operate in an orderly way, was extended by Descartes to view human behavior. Descartes argued that the cause for human behavior is lawful and the causes can be understood. In addition Descartes proposed that human nature consisted of two kinds of ideas, innate ideas and derived ideas. Innate ideas concern the concept of self and god whereas derived ideas are acquired through experience and reflection. In addition Descartes doctrine of innate ideas was the idea of empiricism. Empiricism is the philosophy that knowledge should knowledge