Origins of Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Soul, Philosophy Pages: 5 (1728 words) Published: September 22, 2013
Psych 4012
Part A
In order for anyone to understand this lecture completely one must first understand what psychology and where its basis was derived from and how it came to be the psychology we known today. Professor O’Brien has incorporated many different disciplines in his explanation of evolutionary psychology. The name speaks for itself; the evolution of psychology is basically how psychology has evolved throughout the centuries from Wilhelm Wundt first psychology lab in 1879 to its own science. Before psychology developed into its own separate entity, its earliest history can be traced back to the time of the early Greeks where its basis were derived from famous philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The Greeks teachings of philosophy and Greek literature are some of most basic foundations in the development of psychology. While Socrates was mainly credited for his intellectual understanding of philosophy, his philosophical ideas, lend a helping hand in the development of psychology. Plato was Socrates most prized student, he rejected the notion that the mind was a separate entity to the body. He believed that knowledge was in all of us, and that the mental processes come from the brain rather than anything else from a person. He proposed that we are all born into this world with knowledge, and utilizing this knowledge was just a matter of learning, a process he called anamnesis. In one of his famous writings “The Republic” he proposed that the mind consisted of three interwoven parts, called the tripartite mind. The three parts Logistikon, Thumos, and the Epithumetikon. The logistikon was the central intellect, which govern reasoning and logic. Thumos was the spiritual centre of the mind, which dictated emotions and feelings. The Epithmuetikon was the part that governed desires and appetite. Plato’s ideas will make way for Aristotle’s idea of the trinity souls, which helped the 20th century psychoanalysts idea that the human mind needs to be balanced between three impulses. Wilhelm Wundt may have been what some people believed to be the father of modern psychology, Aristotle was responsible for the theoretical and philosophical framework that established the groundwork for modern psychology. He was the first to write about the ideas of psychology. In his book called Para Psyche, which was known as “about the mind” detailed the basis of reasoning, and how the mind and soul worked interchangeably.(Professor O’Brien Lecture) He believed that there were three different types of souls that helped us define life; soul of the plants, soul of the animals, and the soul of humans. The human soul was what differentiates us from animals and plants, it gives humans the ability to reason, understand the world, and create. Aristotle believed that that our desire to reproduce was the central impulses of all living things. These ideas brings me back to one of Professor O’Brien’s lectures in which he mentioned the influenced of Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolutionary psychology, he provided the framework for thinking about human behavior. Darwin’s contribution to psychology was the “evolution of the mind from the lowest form of animal to the highest man, the expression of emotion, and the evolution of instinct.”(Professor O’Brien Lecture) Philosophers and scientists believe that human behavior is guided by reason, while non-human animal behavior is guided by instinct.(similar to Aristotle’s interpretation of the soul that gives us the ability to reason) We can see here that Aristotle’s intellectual mind was far ahead of his time. Besides influences of these three philosophers, Greek literature also played a great in helping us understand psychology. Greek mythology brings tales of dysfunctional individuals whether god or human whose tale serve as a moral to the readers of today. When we analyze Greek Mythology, the ethical behaviors of the gods and humans draws on the basic qualities of humans for its stories, whether...
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