Psychology Essay

1529 words - 6 pages

Psychology is the investigation of the mind and how it processes and directs our thoughts, actions and conceptions. However, in 1879 Wilhelm Wundt opened the first psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Nevertheless, the origins of psychology go all the way back thousands of years starting with the early Greeks. This foundation is closely connected to biology and philosophy; and especially the subfields of physiology which is the study of the roles of living things and epistemology, which is the study of comprehension and how we understand what we have learned. The connection to physiology and epistemology is often viewed as psychology, which is the hybrid offspring of those two fields of investigation.
It was not until the later part of the 19th century that psychology would emerge as a science. Rene Descartes, a famous French philosopher, contributed a major work to the development of psychology. Descartes presented his theory of dualism as a response to the body and mind conflict between scholars (Schultz & Schultz, 2008). According to Descartes, humans are made up of two dimensions: body and mind. Before the body mind concept, it was believed that humans thought with their souls (Wozniak, 1995). Descartes also believed that humans had tendencies of a mechanism but are different from animals because of the ability to think and reason. His perception of humans led to the theory of dualism. The dualism theory contended that the humans mind is a separate function form the body. However, the mind and soul work in unison in the brain, through the pineal gland to create human behavior. The mind was considered to develop and use innate ideas and derived ideas. Essentially, Descartes came to the conclusion that the mind has influence on the body, but the body has a greater impact on the mind.
Theory of innate ideas suggested that thought does not depend on external factors instead it is the consciousness of a person that develops the ideas. The relevance of innate ideas had great influence on empiricists and associationist, which would be useful in the progress of psychology. Derived ideas are produced from external factors, which depend upon the experiences of the senses. Descartes mind and body theory influenced many of his contemporaries to discard the thinking of the mind working independently of the body. The view of the mind and body with his knowledge of physiology influenced other concepts such as the proposal on how external motions affect nerve fibrils (Unknown author, 2011). These articulations led to the founding of the reflex theory, which became of great use to psychology. Descartes work on mechanization had impact on behaviorism. The concept of the brain being the most important organ heavily influenced the theories of Sigmund Freud. Descartes work is still prevalent today and can be seen in the field of neuropsychology.
Philosophy laid the foundation for the application of scientific method to be used for...

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