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Development of Modern Psychology

Psychology is one of the oldest scholar as well as the newest disciplines. Firstly it was a part of philosophy and became a separate discipline much later. Plato and Aristotle were the first philosophers who started to think over the mind. Plato suggested that body and mind are different notions and mind could exist even after death. Plato’s follower, Aristotle, shared his views. Therefore, he thought that the body and mind manifest each other. French philosopher Rene Descartes also believed in the body-mind duality. However, he considered that the body and the mind are constantly connected. The British philosopher John Locke supposed that thinking is acquired and that the knowledge occurs only when the sense organs interact with the outer world. Thomas Aquinas was the philosopher who united Christian faith with Aristotelian logic. Another great philosopher, Rene Descartes is considered the founder of such sciences as philosophy, mathematics, physiology, and psychology. To his opinion, mind and body could be regarded as distinct essences, directly affecting each other. The two ideas supported by philosophers, namely the duality of body and mind and the clean-slate mind are considered to the origins of western psychology. Only in the twentieth century western psychologists Jung, Maslow, and others, managed to change those conservative concepts.

John Locke made a sufficient contribution to the formation of psychology as a discipline by his books “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Some Thoughts Concerning Education”, in which he expressed the consequence of the concepts. The Irish bishop George Berkeley was concerned about the materialistic implications of seventeenth-century science. He contributed to psychology as well by two books:” An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision” and ”Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge”. George Berkeley in details analyzed the basis of visual perception based according to empiricist arguments and described various visual phenomena. He rejected Locke’s belief and suggested that people cannot be confident in the reality of objects excluding through the belief in God. David Hume was an empiricist who distinguished impressions caused by their faint copies: sensation and ideas. He believed that people cannot be absolutely aware of causality and that only specified cases can be constantly occurring. David Hartley is considered to be the founder of associationism because of his confidence that the essence of the association was contiguous and repetitive. In addition, Hartley created the prototype of the nervous system action, based on the Newtonian concept of vibrations. Hartley’s view on the mind-body interaction inclined to psychophysical parallelism.

In the nineteenth-century philosophers’ actions were aimed at various experiments under mind functions. Physiologists in their turn observed various problems from different points of view. They made efficient discovery concerning the connection between bodily mechanisms and mental processes. Methods of philosophers and physiologists were different. However, their cooperation created a new discipline – psychology, which rapidly gained its own identity and stature. In the nineteenth century, philosophers explored human nature through suppositions, intuition, and summarizing gained experience. Therefore, psychology was reached sufficient changes as philosophers started to use biological and physical tools and methods which have already shown their efficacy exploring human nature. Psychology started to separate from its philosophical background the time as researchers decided to rely on distinctly regulated observation and experiments to explore the human mind. Psychology, as a new discipline, demanded exact and reasonable approaches to interact with its subject matter. The sufficient part of the history of psychology contains in the development of equipment, techniques, and approaches in order to attain the distinctness and objectivity, specifying both psychologists’ questions and answers. The leading British philosopher of that time John Stuart Mill described the mind arguing that the totality of ideas is greater than the totality of individual simple ideas. In order to achieve the inductive scientific truth, Mill described the system of science and approaches of agreement and difference which are the basis of the contemporary experimental method.

In conclusion, psychology, as a science, seemed to be extremely advanced due to the Descartes’ works and works of the great Renaissance philosophers. Since that time, psychology has generated a lot of other separate scientific studies. The process of development in psychology is continuous and is possible to be changed in the human perspective. Actually, the background of contemporary psychological views is deeply plunged in its philosophical origins.