The History of Psychology: Fundamental Questions

By Margaret P. Munger | Go to book overview

Again, take the strange symptom which has been described of late years by the rather absurd name of agora phobia. The patient is seized with palpitation and terror at the sight of any open place or broad street which he has to cross alone. He trembles, his knees bend, he may even faint at the idea. Where he has sufficient self-command he sometimes accomplishes the object by keeping safe under the lee of a vehicle going across, or joining himself to a knot of other people. But usually he slinks round the sides of the square, hugging the houses as closely as he can. This emotion has no utility in a civilized man, but when we notice the chronic agoraphobia of our domestic cats, and see the tenacious way in which many wild animals, especially rodents, cling to cover, and only venture on a dash across the open as a desperate measure—even then making for every stone or bunch of weeds which may give a momentary shelter—when we see this we are strongly tempted to ask whether such an odd kind of fear in us be not due to the accidental resurrection, through disease, of a sort of instinct which may in some of our remote ancestors have had a permanent and on the whole a useful part to play?
1. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (N.Y. ed.), p. 290.
2. Spalding: Macmillan's Magazine, Feb. 1873, p. 287.
3. Ibid., p. 289.
4. Psychologie de l'enfant, p. 72.
5. Der menschliche Wille, p. 224.


Francis Galton (1822–1911) loved to measure things. Over his lifetime, he tabulated and
analyzed data involving high- and low-pressure fronts as he developed the first weather
maps, charted southwest Africa (today's Namibia), and tried to quantify everything from a
woman's beauty to a man's intellectual talents and proclivities to various degrees of bore-
dom of attendees at scientific lectures. Galton was born into a wealthy family, his father
was a banker, and his mother was the eldest daughter of Erasmus Darwin, perhaps the
most famous physician and philosopher of the previous generation. As the youngest child,
Galton enjoyed the doting attention of his mother and older sisters. Indeed, as the result of
sororal tutoring, Galton was reading as a toddler and enjoyed Shakespeare at the age of 7.
He found boarding school abhorrent and later said that his classical education, focused on
Latin and Greek prose, did not contribute to his eventual scientific interests. Galton at-
tended a number of colleges, studying medicine at Birmingham General Hospital; anato-
my and chemistry at Kings College; and mathematics, which he particularly enjoyed, at
Cambridge University, where he received his degree in 1843. Like his cousin, Charles Dar-
win (p. 188), Galton found witnessing surgery repellent but eventually learned to detach
the agonizing screams of the patients (who then underwent surgery without anesthesia)
from the mechanics of the operation. When, with the death of his father, he came into his
inheritance, Galton traveled to Egypt, the Sudan, and the Middle East, returning with such
a variety of experiences that he was asked to instruct British soldiers in the camping tech-
niques. He wrote a popular book, The Art of Travel, Or, Shifts and Contrivances Available
in Wild Countries, for the tourist seeking exotic adventure. The publication of Darwin's (p.
188) The Origin of Species inspired Galton to start exploring human behavior and inheri-
tance. Several publications followed, including the 1888 article, “Co-Relations and Their


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The History of Psychology: Fundamental Questions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Part 1 - What is the Mind? 1
  • 1: Plato 2
  • 2: Hippocrates 4
  • 3: Aristotle 20
  • 4: Saint Augustine of Hippo 35
  • 5: Saint Thomas Aquinas 46
  • Part 2 - Mechanisms of Mind 67
  • 6: René Descartes 68
  • 7: John Locke 81
  • 8: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 96
  • 9: David Hume 113
  • 10: Immanuel Kant 127
  • Part 3 - Scientific Methods 141
  • 11: Gustav Theodor Fechner 142
  • 12: Hermann Von Helmholtz 154
  • 13: Hermann Ebbinghaus 168
  • 14: Ivan Pavlov 178
  • Part 4 - Emotion and Instinct in Animals and Humans 187
  • 15: Charles Darwin 188
  • 16: Margaret Floy Washburn 203
  • 17: William James 215
  • 18: Francis Galton 232
  • Part 5 - Human Development 249
  • 19: Milicent W. Shinn 250
  • 20: Sigmund Freud 258
  • 21: Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon 270
  • 22: Hugo Münsterberg 288
  • Part 6 - What is the Goal of Psychology? 295
  • 23: Wilhelm Wundt 296
  • 24: Max Wertheimer 308
  • 25: E. B. Titchener 324
  • Part 7 - Learning 331
  • 26: John B. Watson 332
  • 27: Edward C. Tolman 341
  • 28: D. O. Hebb 357
  • Part 8 - Cognition 367
  • 29: Jean Piaget 368
  • 30: L. S. Vygotski 387
  • 31: B. F. Skinner 399
  • 32: Noam Chomsky 408
  • 33: Sir Frederic C. Bartlett 430
  • 34: Ulric Neisser 447
  • Part 9 - Considerations of Context 467
  • 35: James J. Gibson 468
  • 36: James L. Mcclelland, David E. Rumelhart, and Geoffrey E. Hinton 478
  • 37: V. S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee 492
  • Bibliography of Readings 511
  • Bibliography of Biographical References 513


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