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From the history of the formation of psychology as a science

The concept of "psychology", as sources most often indicate, first appears in 1590 in the writings of the German theologian Hocklenius; it was first introduced into the scientific language in the 30s of the 18th century by the German scientist Christian Wolf (1679-1754), the author of the books “Rational Psychology” and “Empirical Psychology”. This, of course, did not mean that reflections on the soul, and even more notions about it, arose only with the advent of the concept of “psychology” - as well as the fact that with the advent of the works of Wolf, psychology acquired a scientific status.

The German psychologist German Ebbinghaus (1850-1909), one of the pioneers of experimental psychology, expressed a seemingly paradoxical thought, often quoted in various psychological publications: “Psychology has a short history, but a long past.”

Indeed, we can find reflections on the soul from philosophers of ancient times (or this or that vision, without discussion and argumentation, in mythological and religious representations of various peoples, including those who never knew philosophy). In this sense, psychology does have a long past; science, in the sense that we discussed above, has become relatively recent, at the end of the 19th century; The milestone date is considered to be 1879, when the German philosopher, psychologist, physiologist, doctor Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) opened the world's first experimental psychological laboratory in Leipzig, and then on its basis a psychological institute, where studies were conducted and where in various Many outstanding psychologists of the world have been trained in the uniform

The creation of the institute meant the separation of psychology into an independent science (before that it was considered part of philosophy), and the introduction of experiment into psychology meant the acquisition of a method comparable to the methods of the natural sciences (which at that time, in fact, were most often considered sciences in the full sense). There was a paradox in that Wundt, the idealist philosopher, tried to apply research methods similar to those accepted in physiology (he called his experimental psychology physiological), which caused both the recognition of many scientists and resistance from others; this is a paradox, characteristic - in various versions - for the further development of psychology, has been hotly debated to this day. But, one way or another, scientific psychology was born as a child of philosophy and experimental physiology.

However, psychology as a science arose on the basis of centuries-old reflections on the soul, processed by Wund-tom and his contemporaries, and subsequently changed in many ways: modern psychology is completely different from what it was at birth.

Let us briefly track how psychology has changed, beginning with its long past - how its subject and methods have changed. Let's start with ancient Greek philosophy of the 5th – 4th centuries. BC, where the psychological thought was born - not yet within the framework of science.

For the ancient authors, the soul appeared as something responsible for life and related phenomena - movement, nutrition, etc., as the “beginning of living beings,” these authors, however, disagreed on many issues, especially regarding whether the soul is a special entity , separate from the body, as if instilling in it, or it is inextricably linked with the body, being its function.

In this regard, questions regarding its origin, mortality, proportion of parts, etc. were differently decided. E. E. Sokolova identifies three main approaches, the most important from the point of view of the development of psychological thought. They are associated with the names of the three greatest ancient philosophers of the 5th – 4th centuries. BC - Democritus, Plato and Aristotle.

Democritus is considered the most prominent representative of ancient materialism; Plato - the so-called objective idealism (that is, a philosophical position,


Sokolova Elena Evgenievna - candidate of psychological sciences, teacher of the psychology department of Moscow State University, one of the leading experts in the field of the history of psychology and historical psychology.

according to which the material world is secondary in relation to the world mind that generated it)); Aristotle, in his views combined this and that position.

Despite the fact that many (including in addition to the aforementioned) ancient Greek philosophers talked about the soul, Aristotle (384–322 BC) is considered to be the “father of psychology”, who wrote the first major work in history dedicated specifically to philosophical thoughts about the soul - treatise "On the soul." For many years, the idea of ​​the soul as the essence of a living body has been included as the main one in those philosophical reflections that we call psychological (although the words "psychology", we recall, were not in antiquity, or throughout most of the Middle Ages). In antiquity, historically, the first subject of psychological reflection is formed - the soul as what distinguishes the living from the nonliving (it is no accident that we now use the ordinary words “animate” and “inanimate” in everyday language). Moreover, with the help of the concept of “soul”, those phenomena that modern science does not regard as psychic — for example, physiological processes — were described and explained. It is impossible to talk about specific methods of researching the soul at this stage - in fact, the question of research methods was not raised then; the authors' reasoning, of course, was based on observations, but these were observations close to what we call worldly.

New ideas about the subject of psychology were formulated in the XVII century. AD, that is, two millennia after the emergence of the described ideas of ancient philosophers, already after the emergence of the very concept of “psychology”. This - historically second - subject becomes consciousness, then understood as the knowledge of the soul about itself. Then, psychology begins to be based on empiricism, that is, on experimental (and not only theoretical) knowledge, and gradually acquires its first method - introspection, that is, specially organized self-observation by a psychologist.

The key figure in this regard is the French philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-650), who believed that there are two substances (that is, the fundamental principles of the world) bodily, the property of which is extension, and the soul, the property of which is thinking.

The bodily phenomena, from his point of view, are not given to us directly, but through their awareness, while spiritual phenomena are moments of consciousness as such. For example, we were not directly given sensations, but thoughts about sensations, that is, ideas; ideas and make up the world of mental phenomena. It is easy to understand that, according to Descartes, the soul belongs only to thinking beings, that is, people; animals are nothing more than original living machines operating on the basis of the principles of mechanics (by the way, it was Descartes who justified the idea of ​​a reflex arc and is often referred to as the “father of physiological psychology”); animals are capable of sensations, but do not understand what they feel. So, the soul turned out to be equated with consciousness, with that which a person is directly aware of.
In this logic, the only method of studying the soul can be a “look inside yourself”, tracking the life of one’s own ideas, one’s own inner world — that is, introspection. Such an understanding of the soul and the method of its research was preserved in psychology as leading until the beginning of the 20th century, when, as discussed below, psychology rethought its subject. Psychology basically developed at this time in the mainstream of the so-called asso-cyanism; this concept denotes quite different psychological trends, common to which, however, was the recognition of the principle of association (hence the name) as the main one in explaining the phenomena of consciousness. The term association was introduced in the XVII century. English philosopher and teacher John Locke (1632-1704) and comes from the Latin associo - to connect; he designated such a connection of two ideas in which the actualization of one of them leads to the actualization of the other (approximately in this sense we use the concept of association in everyday speech, saying that “they remembered something by association”). Locke himself did not consider this principle basic, but later, as already mentioned, they tried to explain all phenomena of consciousness on its basis. Most associates were united by the recognition of several key points, of which we highlight the following:

1. As already mentioned, the soul was understood as consciousness;

2. It was believed that consciousness basically consists of simple elements, peculiar “atoms”, which, when combined, form more complex ones;

3. To explore consciousness is possible only with the help of introspection;

4. The subject of study was only individual consciousness, the individual inner world - that is, in those days, psychology did not study, for example, the relationships between people, the features of human communities, etc.

In the last third of the XIX century. in psychology, some - and very serious - changes have begun. Under the influence developed in the XIX century. new philosophical concepts, the achievements of the natural sciences (especially general biology and physiology) and the humanities (for example, the foundations of sociology were laid in the middle of the 19th century), psychology, remaining for the most part in the positions of associationism, began to “let in” itself new ideas and principles.

The subject of psychology as a whole is consciousness, but it was at this time that a laboratory appeared, and then an institute founded by W. Wundt, who introduced some principles of physiological research into psychology, namely, an experimental method that presumes a special organization of conditions that allow one to study the phenomenon (for Wundt True, the experiment was not the main method, but a way to improve introspection).

As one of the most important events, let us single out the creation of psychodiagnostic methods and the study on this basis of individual differences by the English scientist Francis Galton (1822–1911) and the development of statistical data processing by his employees.

We also note some other trends in the psychology of the last third of the 19th century. The Austrian psychologist and philosopher Franz Brentano (1838-1917) regarded consciousness as being built not from content (images, ideas), but from acts (judgments, ideas, assessments), defending the idea of ​​an active orientation (intentionality) of consciousness; American psychologist and philosopher William James

1 A student of F. Galton, J. Kettell, called them the term "tests" as you know it.

(1842-1910) creates the theory of the “stream of consciousness”, which substantiates the idea of ​​the integrity and dynamism of consciousness and its adaptive function, and in addition, laid the foundations of the psychology of personality. It is important that psychology refers to new spaces for itself; branches of psychology are gradually emerging, including some applied ones.

We note here that not only philosophers and psychologists are interested in psychological problems, but also representatives of the natural sciences - Charles Darwin, whose influence was influenced by many psychological schools and schools; the thoughts and studies of the brilliant Russian physiologist Ivan Mikhailovich Sechenov (1829-1905), which showed the reflex nature of mental phenomena, are directly addressed to psychology.

As you probably understood, psychology begins to fragment, differentiate; it is no coincidence that many see this period of its development as a “hidden crisis” - on the whole, we recall that it remains in the position of as-socialism, but complex processes take place inside it, preparing the next stage of its development.

The situation in psychology in the first third of the 20th century is often called the "open crisis" (this concept was proposed by P. Ya. Halperin); meaning that in psychology there are many new directions that offer their understanding of the subject, methods, explanatory principles of psychological science.

However, the crisis in this case does not have to be understood as something negative - yes, on the one hand, psychology loses the conditional unity it possessed, but, on the other hand, the abundance of new and dissimilar ideas can also be regarded as the heyday of psychology. It is also important that some new psychological theories were not born out of philosophical reflections as such and not in the bowels of research laboratories, but in attempts to comprehend the phenomena found in practical work, primarily in the practice of psychotherapeutic assistance.

Halperin Peter Yakovlevich (1902-1988) - an outstanding domestic psychologist, doctor of psychological sciences, professor, creator of the theory of the phased formation of mental actions. He paid much attention to the history of psychology, which he taught at the faculty of psychology at Moscow State University.

During the period of the “open crisis” a lot of directions formed, and there is no place to consider them in detail - this will be the subject of discussion in other courses that you will meet in a subsequent study of psychology. However, the main ones - those that have most influenced modern psychology - will be briefly highlighted. We emphasize that we are talking specifically about theories here - practical applications of these areas will be highlighted in the future.

Let's start with the direction called psychoanalysis, and consider directly this theory and its most important derivatives (derivatives), that is, theories that are historically connected with psychoanalysis but, due to various circumstances, departed from it. Psychoanalysis and theories associated with it just represent a significant part of the group of theories that were formed within psychotherapeutic practice, and this leaves a special imprint on them - despite the fact that the basis of classical psychoanalysis is the natural science picture of the world, research methods in psychoanalysis do not obey the typical scheme of natural science research. However, in order.
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