THE CONTRIBUTION OF ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHERS TO PSYCHOLOGY: ARISTOTLE 384 - 322 B.C
Aristotle is the most significant philosopher in modern psychology. He covered the widest range of topics crucial to psychology today. These topics include sleep and dreams, motivation, learning, memory, sensation, perception, emotion, and old age. His book On the Soul is taken to be one of the first books in the History of psychology. Which of these topics have you covered this semester?
Aristotle's method of acquiring knowledge is called empirical rationalism. To him certain abstract principles were knowable by studying nature. The unmoved mover put a purpose in everything in nature setting everything in motion out of logical necessity and left. He or she or it is not interested in human affairs and may not even be a deity. Human beings should study the purpose of nature and not worry about the unmoved mover who is not necessarily a deity. This was the beginning of the scientific attitude later to be taken up by the natural scientists and even psychologists. In particular this was where mechanistic theories by Galileo Galilei and Isaak Newton etc. got their impetus from.
Study the scientific attitude of Francis Bacon and the French materialists and positivists.
If enough individual manifestations were studied, eventually one would enter the general principles that were exemplified. To him information from the senses could be trusted to yield accurate knowledge. Without ideas from the senses in fact the mind is tabula rasa. This became the foundation of the modern scientific method used by both natural scientists and social scientists. Psychology in particular uses the scientific method which proceeds from a hunch, a theory, a hypothesis, collection of data and analysis using mathematical models. Have you covered the scientific method? If not read the introduction chapters of any introduction to psychology text book.