Essay on History of Psychology

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The History of Psychology
Christin Ferebee
PSY/310
07/29/2013
Brooke Shriner

A History of Psychology
Psychology is still considered a fairly new science and as really only been taken seriously in the past century. From philosophy comes psychology, but philosophers have been trying to figure out the inner workings of the mind long before psychology came to be. There are many philosophers that were important in forming psychology, but the one that stands out as one of the more crucial ones is Descartes. Many western philosophers such as John Locke and John Mill were heavily influenced by the writings done by Descartes. It was at that time that psychology began its formation into the science it is today.
The Philosophers
Many things happened in the 17th century, including it being the turning point of philosophy becoming psychology. The person given the most credit for its formation is René Descartes (1596-1650) he is often called the father of modern philosophy and psychology. One of his more famous quotes is used often in the human language today to make people think. This famous quote is of course “I think, therefore I am” (Descartes, 2006). He also had a hard time believing anything was truth unless there was absolutely no reason to doubt. This of course leads to another of his famous quotes “the only way to get to the certainty of truth is to arrive at oneself, relying on the clear use of one’s own reasoning powers” (Goodwin, 2008). Descartes was not thrilled with the philosophy he had been taught and found nothing in his own learning that was not left to question. As he only believed something to be true if he could not doubt it, he sought to find the truthful knowledge from within (Goodwin, 2008). Descartes believed that the mind and body were two separate entities, which is something was often debated after his death. The connection between the mind and body is something that remains a mystery to this day.
Western Influences
John Locke
John Locke was also a 17th century philosopher from the west. He was said to have been the founder of Empiricism which is the idea that our experiences are our only real source of knowledge. Locke believed that the only way in which we formed ideas was from sensations and reflections. Locke also believed that our knowledge formed from our experiences in life. The human mind was compared to a blank sheet of paper in which all of our experiences in life were recorded. These recording were called our sensations. The sensations recorded could later be recalled, or remembered, which could then be added to new sensations. This would lead to new knowledge.

John Mill
John Mill was also a very important contributor to the formation of psychology. His most important contribution was during the British Empirical movement. According to him all knowledge was gotten through experience and that inborn ideas did not exist. His views on the necessity of government were based on his belief that people should be able to do anything they wanted as long as it did not harm others in the process. He was noted as saying “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully…