John Locke and Wilhelm Wundt

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 171
  • Published : July 26, 2010
Open Document
Text Preview
The following paper will discuss philosophers and scientists who created the foundation for modern psychological thought and treatments. I will discuss John Locke who was an Oxford scholar, medical researcher and physician, political operative, economist and ideologue for a revolutionary movement, as well as being one of the great philosophers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. And then I will discuss Wilhelm Wundt who is thought of as one of the founding fathers of psychology. Wundt is credited for founding psychology, or in other words he made psychology a true science.

John Locke was considered one of the most influential philosophers in post-renaissance Europe, which was about the mid 1600s. Locke has been recognized for several important documents that have influenced the beginnings of modern psychology. One of his most important works written in 1690 was entitled, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding(“An Essay Concerning...”). The work was considered a foundational text in Western philosophy and brought up the model of how people developed. The essay also asked the question of how and why people become individuals. In the essay, Locke proposes that we are all born with certain knowledge and principles that helps us to become part of society. The theory known as Tabula Rasa meaning a blank or clean slate om which experience would write(Schultz & Schultz, 2008). He states that it is through experience, of the world around us, this is how one forms ideas. He further states that human knowledge is gathered in two distinct ways through sensation and reflection. These are further broken down into primary and secondary qualities of senses. With the basic idea he suggested that out of the 2 sources of human knowledge one starts out with simple ideas that are used to form complex ideas, which are formed through communication between individuals.

The fundamental principles of Locke's philosophy is what we know is always properly understood as the relation between ideas. Locke argued that all of our ideas—simple or complex—are ultimately derived from experience. Lock was concerned primarily with cognitive functioning, that is, the ways in which the mind acquires its knowledge(Schultz & Schultz, 2008). In tacking this issue, he rejected the existence of innate ideas, as proposed by Descartes, and argues that humans are born without any knowledge whatsoever (Schultz & Schultz, 2008). The consequence of this empiricist approach is that the knowledge of which we are capable is severely limited in its scope and certainty. Our knowledge of material substances, for example, depends heavily on the secondary qualities by reference to which we name them, while their real inner natures derive from the primary qualities of their insensible parts.

It is clear to see that Locke's ideas on the idea of how individuals develop is the starting point to many theorists in modern psychology and specifically developmental psychology. He was poised with the question of what is the ultimate significance of life and how does one develop the tools to proceed through life. His ultimate suggestion was that we are all born with the building blocks to become who we are. An in turn, as we go through life and experience what it has to offer, we form the necessary tools to survive and become individuals.

Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt was a German physiologist and Psychologist who made Psychology a field of its own.  He was the first person in history to be called a “psychologist,” as well as the first person to teach a course in Physiological Psychology at Heidelberg in 1867.  Wundt established psychology as a unique branch of science with its own questions and methods.  “Wundt set out purposely to establish a new science.  As founder he took it as his right to redefine the first paradigm in Psychology, Structuralism.”  (Hevern, 2003)  Wundt is a problematic figure at many levels; he established the first laboratory in Psychology,...
tracking img