The historical background of psychology
Psychology has both traditional and scientific history, as any other science. Traditionally, psychology dates back to earliest speculations about the relationships of man with his environment. Beginning from 600 B. C. the Greek intellectuals observed and discussed these relationships.
Empedocles said that the cosmos consisted of four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Hippocrates translated these elements into four bodily humors and characterized the temperament of individuals on the basis of these humors.
Plato recognized two classes of phenomena: things and ideas. Ideas, he said, come from two sources: some are innate and come with a soul, others a product of observations through the sense organs. The giant of the thinkers was Aristotle. He was interested in anatomy and physiology of the body, he explained learning on the achieved on the basis of observations.
After the birth of Crist, St. Augustine characterized the
method of introspection and developed a field of knowledge, later called as faculty psychology. According to St. Tomas Aquins, scientific truth must be based on observation and experimentation.
During the 15th and 16th centuries the scientific knowledge developed greatly. Among the important scientific investigations were those of Newton in psychology of vision and Harvey in physiology.
The mind – body problem was a very important for the 17th and 18th centuries philosophers and entered resent psychology. Here appeared such theories as: 1) occasionalism, according to which God is between a mind and a body; 2) double aspect theory, in which a mind and a body a different aspects of the same substance; 3) psychophysical parallelism, according to which a mind and a body are parallel in the actions.
The associanists, or empiricists, developed the doctrine of associations: simple ideas form complex sensations and ideas (Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were the functions of this theory). Opposed to the association theory was the doctrine of mental faculties.
Nowadays psychology is a separate discipline, a real combination of true knowledge of human nature.