2013 01 05 14.23.36

Philiosophy of Psychology

  • Rene Descartes' (1596-1650)

    His mother died 14 months after his birth, he was brought up by his maternal grandmother and a nurse. His father was a practicing lawyer and judge, so Descartes enjoyed financial security and status. Due to frail health, he often slept for 10 hours a day. Although he was talented in most area, he found his niche in mathematics. He practiced as a lawyer, served in the military and travelled through Europe. He died in 1650 to pnemonia.
  • Period: to

    Descartes' Most Influential Work

    He began writing his book, "The World", which held the same premise as Gallileo, that it, the Earth was no the centre of the universe. However, when he heard about Gallileo's imprisonment, he became conflicted between his quest for truth and loyalty to the church. Eventually, he did not publish the book.
    Note: Descartes' Method
    Mechanistic theory of Physiology (and its wholistic application)
    Theory of mind (Dualism)
  • Baruch Spinoza is Born

    Spinoza was a Jew, born in Holland. Due to his unfailing search for the truth, Spinoza questioned many Jewish ideas and was eventually excommunicated from the synagogue. Not wanting to be restricted by social expectations in his search, he refused many scholarships and opportunities. He earned earned a meagre living cutting, polishing and grinding glass, however this eventually contributed to lung disease; he died at age 44. He was a pantheist.
  • Spinoza Dies

    His most influential work was his challenge of Cartesian theory of mind. He did not accept that the mind and body were made of different substances. Instead he proposed a form of monism, that is, the psychological world of experiend and the physiological world of behaviour coexist and two unique expressions of the same thing. He also suggested that the human mind/nature is subject to natural laws and determinism. His work influenced Freud's.
  • Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751)

    Challenged Descartes' view of the mind.
    He observed that when he was ill, that both his physcial and mental abilities were diminished, therefore both body and mind must be machine like in nature.
    He published his views in "The Human Machine", but was banished for his views and became an intellectual hobo.
    The idea that the entire brain is responsible for higher functions and consiousness became popular due to his book. Died in 1751, age 42.
  • Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

    Kant's major philosophy is that reality is dependent the mind of the perciever, so because we have had unique learning experiences, our perception of reality is unique. A central idea to Kantian philosophy, is the notion that causality does not objectively exist in the universe, but rather our minds infer causal relationships. Later on, Piaget applies Kants models to his stage thoery, saying that "knowledge" is an active process.
  • Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828)

    A brilliant anatomist that first proposed there are two kinds of brain matter AND that the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and vice versa. His most notable observations were regarding the correlations between amount of cortex and higher mental functions, he hypothesised that the cortex is the seat of higher mental functions. He also theorised the study of Phrenology, which suggested that one could predict mental ability by the shape of the cranium. WRONG! Note "the 3 flaws".
  • Pierre Flourens (1784-1867)

    Flourens studied the correlations between function and the brain methodologically, by systematically oblation parts of animal brains and observing behaviour. He mostly just challenged Gall's theories. Flourens noted that although localisation occurs to an extent, there was rich integration and connection between parts of the brain. However, his methods were criticised by Gall because he often had to cut through other brain parts before he could oblate the bit he was looking for.
  • Auguste Comte (1798-1857)

    Positivism states that we should only study that which can be directly experienced, Comte furthered "positivism": The only thing we can be sure of is that which is idrectly observable. He can be considered a father of modern day philosophy of science. He suggested a three stage process that society progresses through to explain phenomena: Theologically (primitive thinking on God), Metaphysically (Unseen forces/principles) and Scientifically (the "true" way). Coined the term sociology.
  • Francis Galton (1822-1911)

    Charles Darwin's cousin. Suggested that intelligence is inherited and over represented in the upper classes, thereby concluding the lower classes have no potential. Led to the idea of selective breeding (Eugenics) which was adopted by the Nazi.
    He over emphasised the role of genes and ignored the role of the environment. He did valuably promote the use of twin studies, questionnairres which we still use in modern psych
  • Paul Broca (1824-1880)

    Broca was a surgeon and anatomist, founded the French Anthropological Society. He is best known for his work on the Broca's Area. He was transferred a patient with a form of aphasia, he could only say the word "Tan". Tan could comprehend speech perfectly but could not express it. When Tan died, Brocan preformed the autopsy and noticed that a certain area of his brain had disintegrated. He studied a number of similar cases where the same area was damaged.This part of the brain became Broca's Area
  • Ivan Sechenov (1829-1905)

    Sechenov was considered a Russian hero. He took a strong materialist view of psychology, he denied that thoughts cause behaviour but rather, stmulation causes all behaviour. Thought only appears to causally preced behaviour, when it is only an interaction between thought and behaviour. This fell within the field of "objective psychology", that is, to only study that which is directly measurable.
  • Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt (1832-1920)

    (German) Wundt was interested in what goes on in the mind and his method of choice was introspection. He was the first person to call himself a psychologist and is regarded by many as the father of experimental psychology. In 1879, he opened the first psychology laboratory in the university of Leipzig. He believed all behaviour had an underlying purpose or motivation and that people have the ability to exercise choice (Voluntarism). Voilitional acts are creative, but not free (determinist).
  • Ernst Mach (1838-1916)

    Physicist and philosopher, Mach agreed with Comte that science should only study that which can be know with certainty. However, he disagreed on what it is that can be known. He argued that we can never experience the physical world directly, we can only be certain of our sensations of it. Therefore, sensations are the ultimate subject matter for all science. Hence we need introspection to study sensation.
  • William James (1842-1910)

    When he was young, he wanted to be a painter, but his father threatened suicide if he chose that career. James was the father of American psychology and functionalism. Although he was 10 years younger than Wundt, they were considered intellectual rivals in psychology. James was born in New York, and eventually studied medicine. He postponed his studies to go to Brazil with a famous Biologist. In that time he developed smallpox and moved to Germany for treatment, where he read Wundt's work.
  • Carl Wernicke (1848-1905)

    Shortly after Broca's discoveries, Wernicke published an article that described the exact opposite event. That is, patients could not comprehend speech, but their expression was fluent, although speech was awkward and unmonitored. He found this was due to damage ot "Wernicke's Area".
  • Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)

    Pavlov was active as a child and became injured at age 10. He was sent ot his godfather, an abbot, who encouraged him to study. He was admitted into St. Petersburg to study natural sciences, he trained in the mechanistic movement and objective psychology. He was a great administrator, very bad with money and very strange as a person. In 1904, he got the Nobel Prize for his work on physiology of digestion. His greatest work was on Classical Conditioning of dogs.
  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

    Freud grew up in a poor crowded house in Vienna. He was remarkably intelligent and spoke 8 languages profeciently. He studied medicine in the university of VIenna, where he studied under Brentano (Philosophy) and Brucke (Physiology). Freud is most well known for his work on hysteria patients, through hypnosis, free association and the Cathartic Method. His most prominent work is his comprehensive model of dynamic mind.
  • Edward Titchener (1867-1927)

    Titchener translated much of Wundt's work into English and developed a brand of psychology much like Wundt's approach. BUT he rejected any sort of specualtion on anything that was unobservable. Titchener can be considered the father of Structuralism, his aim was to describe the structure of the human mind. He maintained that a psychologist's task was to cataligue the elements of consciousness and the connections between the elements using introspection.
  • John B. Watson (1878-1958)

    Watson is the founder of behaviourism. He grew up in a highly religious house due to the influence of his mother, however he was a trouble maker (he had been arrested twice). Essentially, he only got into uni on verbal persuasiveness, but continued there until he got a masters in psych. Over time he became quite well respected in the field and released his book "Psychology as the behaviourist views it", which outlined the key tenets of behaviourism.
  • Max Wertheimer (1880-1943)

    Werthemer first brought Gestalt principles under scientific scrutiny. He also termed the "phi phenomena", the illusion of motion due to dsiplaying a succession of static images. Essentially, what this phenomena demonstrated is that 2 different stimul can give rise to the same perceptual experience in the observer. Therefore, movement is attributed and inferred by the mind. Gestalts reasoned that the percieving mind tends to see the world in indivisible wholes.
  • Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

    Piaget was born in Switzerland, his father studied medievil literature and his mother suffered from mood disorders. He had an output grater than Wundt's 62 935 pages in his lifetime. He had his first article published at age 10. By the time he as a teenager, he was known as a mollusc expert. For Piaget, his quest for knowledge was a religious one, stirred by his identification of God within nature itself. He later integrated epistemology with biology which led to his famous development theories.
  • Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996)

    Believed that in the physical sciences, there is generally one accepted paradigm which members work within. When a series of anomalies are presented, members begin to shift the beliefs. If enough members accept the anomolies are true, then a whole scale shift occurs. This is a scientific revolution and a paradigm shift. Theres also a preparadigm stage that Kuhn proposed, where there is not yet a fully accepted paradigm but many competing ones.
  • Vienna Circle Develope "Logical Positivism"

    Regular positivism was found to contradict with indisposable constructs like gravity, so logical positivism was introduced. Under logical positivism, theory would be accepted as long as there strict empirical observation and analysis of sensation AND only if it can be logically tied to those empirical observations. Said in another way, if a theory is not verifiable by evidence (proven disproven) it is not an acceptable theory under logical positivism. Freud's are notoriously bad at this.