Definition of Philosophy (1.2)
“The scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context.” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/psychology, 2014)
“The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/philosophy?q=Philosophy, 2014)
Theorists/Philosophers Before 1879 (2.1)
Hippocrates (460 BC – 377 BC)
René Descartes (1596 - 1650)
Charles Darwin (1809- 1882)
Hippocrates was a Greek physiologist who believed the mind and soul were in the brain and that the mind and body were separate things that interact, known as dualism. He is also known as being the father of medicine, Hippocrates rejected superstition of priests and started a medical school, teaching that all diseases were a result of natural cases and must be treated by natural methods. He often recommended rest, exercise, diet, music and friends to restore the natural balance in people who were ill. Hippocrates found out in his observations that the right side of the brain controlled the left side of the body and vice versa as well as the theory of the four humours; yellow bile, black bile, phlegm and blood too much of any of these humours would result in a dominate personality trait. Hippocrates predicted that epilepsy would be the result of physiological causes and rejected the view that it was a result of divine meddling, which it has been. To psychology he contributed by describing the natural causes of psychological conditions recommending holistic treatments, such as alcmaeon, describing behavioural problems and formulating theories of temperament and motivation based on the imbalances of the humours. In modern day psychology he would have come under the biological perspective because of his theory of the four humours.
Rene Descartes was a French philosopher who focused much of his research on the nervous system and contributed to psychology, mainly the biological aspect, with his focus on behaviour and the mind, in the mind body issue. Descartes’ first book was written in 1638 but wasn’t published until after his death, he saw human behaviour as a result of reflexes as well as eliminating the idea of free will. Descartes saw humans as mechanized bodies but the mind as a thing with a structure and that they both coordinated together via the pineal gland, known as dualism. He saw the content of the mind as ideas both innate and derived. Descartes contribution to psychology was a first attempt to make a model of the mind and bodies position (dualism). As well as methodology, this is taking a large complex problem and breaking it down to less complicated individual parts. Finally how learning and experience alter the brain.
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was based upon natural selection and not survival of fittest and how the characteristics that are advantages of survival will be passed down through generations, adaptableness was the most important in the survival of any species in the “Descent of Man” (1871), and this was the cornerstone for the biological perspective. Darwin implied the mental abilities between man and more evolved mammals had no primary differences, this was shown by the possibility of insanity in these beings and was recorded by his observations of children’s development in “A Biographical Sketch of an Infant” (1877). Darwin stressed the functions of the mind instead of the structure while studying animals and extended on the methodologies available to study the psychological processes paying attention to the differences between individuals and the importance of the differences. 460BC – 377BC 1596 - 1650 1809 – 1882