Psychology

   1) The Knowledge of Ourselves
   We come therefore now to that knowledge whereunto the ancient oracle directeth us, which is the knowledge of ourselves; which deserveth the more accurate handling, by how much it toucheth us more nearly. This knowledge, as it is the end and term of natural philosophy in the intention of man, so notwithstanding it is but a portion of natural philosophy in the continent of nature. . . . [W]e proceed to human philosophy or Humanity, which hath two parts: the one considereth man segregate, or distributively; the other congregate, or in society. So as Human philosophy is either Simple and Particular, or Conjugate and Civil. Humanity Particular consisteth of the same parts whereof man consisteth; that is, of knowledges which respect the Body, and of knowledges that respect the Mind . . . how the one discloseth the other and how the one worketh upon the other . . . [:] the one is honored with the inquiry of Aristotle, and the other of Hippocrates. (Bacon, 1878, pp. 236-237)
   2) As a Science, Psychology Is Distinct
   The claims of Psychology to rank as a distinct science are . . . not smaller but greater than those of any other science. If its phenomena are contemplated objectively, merely as nervo-muscular adjustments by which the higher organisms from moment to moment adapt their actions to environing co-existences and sequences, its degree of specialty, even then, entitles it to a separate place. The moment the element of feeling, or consciousness, is used to interpret nervo-muscular adjustments as thus exhibited in the living beings around, objective Psychology acquires an additional, and quite exceptional, distinction. (Spencer, 1896, p. 141)
   3) Psychology Can Never Be an Exact Natural Science
   Kant once declared that psychology was incapable of ever raising itself to the rank of an exact natural science. The reasons that he gives . . . have often been repeated in later times. In the first place, Kant says, psychology cannot become an exact science because mathematics is inapplicable to the phenomena of the internal sense; the pure internal perception, in which mental phenomena must be constructed,-time,-has but one dimension. In the second place, however, it cannot even become an experimental science, because in it the manifold of internal observation cannot be arbitrarily varied,-still less, another thinking subject be submitted to one's experiments, comformably to the end in view; moreover, the very fact of observation means alteration of the observed object. (Wundt, 1904, p. 6)
   4) How a "Mathematical" Psychology May Be Realized in Practice
   It is [Gustav] Fechner's service to have found and followed the true way; to have shown us how a "mathematical psychology" may, within certain limits, be realized in practice. . . . He was the first to show how Herbart's idea of an "exact psychology" might be turned to practical account. (Wundt, 1904, pp. 6-7)
   5) The Rights of Psychology as Science
   "Mind," "intellect," "reason," "understanding," etc. are concepts . . . that existed before the advent of any scientific psychology. The fact that the naive consciousness always and everywhere points to internal experience as a special source of knowledge, may, therefore, be accepted for the moment as sufficient testimony to the rights of psychology as science. . . . "Mind," will accordingly be the subject, to which we attribute all the separate facts of internal observation as predicates. The subject itself is determined p. 17) wholly and exclusively by its predicates. (Wundt, 1904,
   6) The Study of Animal Psychology
   The study of animal psychology may be approached from two different points of view. We may set out from the notion of a kind of comparative physiology of mind, a universal history of the development of mental life in the organic world. Or we may make human psychology the principal object of investigation. Then, the expressions of mental life in animals will be taken into account only so far as they throw light upon the evolution of consciousness in man. . . . Human psychology . . . may confine itself altogether to man, and generally has done so to far too great an extent. There are plenty of psychological text-books from which you would hardly gather that there was any other conscious life than the human. (Wundt, 1907, pp. 340-341)
   7) The Behaviorist's Formulation
   The Behaviorist began his own formulation of the problem of psychology by sweeping aside all medieval conceptions. He dropped from his scientific vocabulary all subjective terms such as sensation, perception, image, desire, purpose, and even thinking and emotion as they were subjectively defined. (Watson, 1930, pp. 5-6)
   8) Man Is a Microcosm
   According to the medieval classification of the sciences, psychology is merely a chapter of special physics, although the most important chapter; for man is a microcosm; he is the central figure of the universe. (deWulf, 1956, p. 125)
   9) Brief Overview of Psychology's History
   At the beginning of this century the prevailing thesis in psychology was Associationism. . . . Behavior proceeded by the stream of associations: each association produced its successors, and acquired new attachments with the sensations arriving from the environment.
   In the first decade of the century a reaction developed to this doctrine through the work of the Wurzburg school. Rejecting the notion of a completely self-determining stream of associations, it introduced the task (Aufgabe) as a necessary factor in describing the process of thinking. The task gave direction to thought. A noteworthy innovation of the Wurzburg school was the use of systematic introspection to shed light on the thinking process and the contents of consciousness. The result was a blend of mechanics and phenomenalism, which gave rise in turn to two divergent antitheses, Behaviorism and the Gestalt movement. The behavioristic reaction insisted that introspection was a highly unstable, subjective procedure. . . . Behaviorism reformulated the task of psychology as one of explaining the response of organisms as a function of the stimuli impinging upon them and measuring both objectively. However, Behaviorism accepted, and indeed reinforced, the mechanistic assumption that the connections between stimulus and response were formed and maintained as simple, determinate functions of the environment.
   The Gestalt reaction took an opposite turn. It rejected the mechanistic nature of the associationist doctrine but maintained the value of phenomenal observation. In many ways it continued the Wurzburg school's insistence that thinking was more than association-thinking has direction given to it by the task or by the set of the subject. Gestalt psychology elaborated this doctrine in genuinely new ways in terms of holistic principles of organization.
   Today psychology lives in a state of relatively stable tension between the poles of Behaviorism and Gestalt psychology. . . . (Newell & Simon, 1963, pp. 279-280)
   10) Psychological Research Is Not Building toward Systematic Clarity
   As I examine the fate of our oppositions, looking at those already in existence as guide to how they fare and shape the course of science, it seems to me that clarity is never achieved. Matters simply become muddier and muddier as we go down through time. Thus, far from providing the rungs of a ladder by which psychology gradually climbs to clarity, this form of conceptual structure leads rather to an ever increasing pile of issues, which we weary of or become diverted from, but never really settle. (Newell, 1973b, pp. 288-289)
   11) Psychology as a Scientific Discipline
   The subject matter of psychology is as old as reflection. Its broad practical aims are as dated as human societies. Human beings, in any period, have not been indifferent to the validity of their knowledge, unconcerned with the causes of their behavior or that of their prey and predators. Our distant ancestors, no less than we, wrestled with the problems of social organization, child rearing, competition, authority, individual differences, personal safety. Solving these problems required insights-no matter how untutored-into the psychological dimensions of life. Thus, if we are to follow the convention of treating psychology as a young discipline, we must have in mind something other than its subject matter. We must mean that it is young in the sense that physics was young at the time of Archimedes or in the sense that geometry was "founded" by Euclid and "fathered" by Thales. Sailing vessels were launched long before Archimedes discovered the laws of bouyancy [sic], and pillars of identical circumference were constructed before anyone knew that C IID. We do not consider the ship builders and stone cutters of antiquity physicists and geometers. Nor were the ancient cave dwellers psychologists merely because they rewarded the good conduct of their children. The archives of folk wisdom contain a remarkable collection of achievements, but craft-no matter how perfected-is not science, nor is a litany of successful accidents a discipline. If psychology is young, it is young as a scientific discipline but it is far from clear that psychology has attained this status. (Robinson, 1986, p. 12)

Historical dictionary of quotations in cognitive science. . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Psychology — (from Greek gr. ψῡχή, psȳkhē , breath, life, soul ; and gr. λογία, logia ) is an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. Psychologists study such phenomena as perception, cognition, emotion …   Wikipedia

  • Psychology — • The science which treats of the soul and its operations Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Psychology     Psychology     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • PSYCHOLOGY — PSYCHOLOGY, the science of the mind or of mental phenomena and activities. Psychological Concepts in the Bible Psychology has a long past, but only a short history (H. Ebbinghaus, Abriss der Psychologie, 1908). Nowhere is this aphorism better… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • psychology — [sī käl′ə jē] n. pl. psychologies [ModL psychologia: see PSYCHO & LOGY] 1. a) the science dealing with the mind and with mental and emotional processes b) the science of human and animal behavior 2. the sum of the actions, traits, attitudes,… …   English World dictionary

  • Psychology — Psy*chol o*gy, n. pl. {Psychologies}. [Psycho + logy: cf. F. psychologie. See {Psychical}.] The science of the human soul; specifically, the systematic or scientific knowledge of the powers and functions of the human soul, so far as they are… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Psychology — affective computing affective forecasting amygdala hijack attentional blink bibliotherapy brain fingerprinting busy brain …   New words

  • psychology — 1650s, study of the soul, probably coined mid 16c. in Germany by Melanchthon as Mod.L. psychologia, from Gk. psykhe breath, spirit, soul (see PSYCHE (Cf. psyche)) + logia study of (see LOGY (Cf. logy)). Meaning study of the mind first recorded… …   Etymology dictionary

  • psychology — [n] study of the mind; emotional and mental constitution attitude, behaviorism, medicine, mental make up, mental processes, personality study, psych*, science of the mind, therapy, way of thinking*, where head is at*; concepts 349,360,410 …   New thesaurus

  • psychology — ► NOUN 1) the scientific study of the human mind and its functions. 2) the mental characteristics or attitude of a person. 3) the mental factors governing a situation or activity. DERIVATIVES psychologist noun …   English terms dictionary

  • psychology — /suy kol euh jee/, n., pl. psychologies. 1. the science of the mind or of mental states and processes. 2. the science of human and animal behavior. 3. the sum or characteristics of the mental states and processes of a person or class of persons,… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.