Philip C. Allen
May 3, 2012
The Early Stages of Psychology
People have been searching for answers to life’s problems since the dawn of mankind. Humans would look to the stars for answers. They would look to nature for a cure. They even looked toward the heavens for gods to cure their ailments. Not until recently did we, as a race, begin to look toward ourselves to find solutions. We now know that we are capable of tapping into our minds and understanding what lies at the root of our mental illnesses.
Psychology is still in its infancy when compared with other sciences. It is approximately 125 years old (University of Phoenix, 2008). The roots of psychology were founded in abstract philosophers like Rene Descartes and John Locke, but go as far back as ancient Greece.
Although we know that Babylonians and Buddhists played a significant role in the development of psychology, much of their teachings are passed down orally and lost or forgotten. Therefore, the Ancient Greeks provide the most useful starting point for a look back at the launching platform for what we know today as psychology (Aristotle’s Psychology, 2008-2012).
History shows us a pattern of the well-to-do in Roman times looking to philosophers for education in areas as mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, ethics, and more. Citizens wanting their children to learn beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic would send them to study with philosophers (Daniels, 1997). As this continued, we also saw them seeking guidance in the ways of the mind and social interaction. Rulers were seeking the counsel of philosophers to understand their enemies and to understand their people.
During the 17th-century, Descartes proposed that the mind and body were two...