Augustine

April 11, 2011

Augustine (354-430)
Aurelius Augustinus. Raised in a philosophically-mixed family (his mother was a Christian, his father was not), Augustine converted to Christianity as an adult. He advocated introspective meditation, denunciation of the flesh, and the importance of self understanding. Since true knowledge comes from God, examining the world is of limited value. For Augustine, the soul is composed of memory, understanding and will. Sometimes called the first of the Christian philosophers, Augustine’s views dominated western Europe for nearly 1000 years. Augustine believed that truth comes directly from God through introspective self-examination. For Augustine, the soul is a self-contained entity with no physical dimension. It is a trinity of memory, understanding, and will.

Aristippus

April 11, 2011

Aristippus (434-356 BC) 
Although a student of Socrates in Athens, Aristippus was born in Cyrene, so his philosophy is called Cyrenaicism. The basic doctrine was pleasure is all that matters. For Aristippus and his followers, the pursuit of happiness required the immediate gratification of any and every desire. People should control their circumstances, and not allow circumstances to control them. This Cyrenaic approach allowed no thought of the consequences because knowledge is unreliable, amoral and only exists in the sensations of the moment. Although Aristippus may have argued for restraint, for many Cyrenaicism was an excuse for sexual promiscuity and physical brutality.

James Angell

April 11, 2011

Angell, James Rowland (1867-1949)
Having studied with both Dewey and James, Angell developed the laboratory at the Univerisy of Chicago into a major training program. Coming from a long line of college presidents, Angell studied with Dewey (at Michigan) and James (at Harvard). After chairing the psychology department at the University of Chicago for 25 years, Angell became the president of Yale (1921).

Ambrose

April 11, 2011

Ambrose (340-397)
Ambrose didn’t set out to be a priest. Born in what is now Germany, he studied law in Rome and began his career as a civil service. When he was appointed governor of Aemilia and Liguria in 370, he made Milan his headquarters. He was such a popular ruler that four years after he moved there, he was asked to become Milan’s bishop. Ambrose accepted the position, became baptized, and then formally joined the church.

Robert Yerkes

April 11, 2011

Yerkes, Robert Mearns (1876-1956)  Best known for his work with apes, Robert Mearns Yerkes (1876-1956) was the premier psychobiologist of his time. Prior to founding Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology, he taught at Harvard and the University of Minnesota. Yerkes also was responsible for testing army draftees in WWI and the creation of Army Alpha and Beta tests.

Albert Weiss

April 11, 2011

Weiss, Albert P (1879-1931)   Born in Germany but raised in America, Weiss attempted to explain behavior in terms of atoms, electrons and protons. His emphasis on physiological processes and an organism’s interaction with the environment helped establish bisocial behaviorism.

Stoics

April 11, 2011

Since the universe is orderly, good and outside of our control, the Stoics asserted that we should be content with what happens. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) was a stoic.

Douglad Stewart

April 11, 2011

Stewart, Douglad (1753-1828)   Like Reid, Douglad Stewart was a Scottish common sense rationalist. In 1892, Stewart wrote Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind which included sections on perception, memory, imagination, language and thinking. It was still used as a text at Yale in 1824.

Baruch Spinoza

April 11, 2011

Spinoza, Baruch (1632-1677)
In contrast to Descartes’ separation of God, mind and matter, Baruch (Benedict in Latin) Spinoza proposed an integrated view. Not three separate entities; three aspects of one substance. Although raised in the predominantly Christian city of Amsterdam, and contrary to the teaching of his parents who were Portuguese Jews, Spinoza was basically a pantheist (God does not exist as a separate entity but is in everything). He believed that mind and body can’t be separated because matter and soul are the same thing but viewed from different points of view. Spinoza’s double-aspectism (mind-body are two sides of the same coin) was in contrast to the dualism of Descartes and others. Dualists held that the material mind and spiritual mind were independent but had to meet somewhere. Spinoza’s monism eliminated the conflict by reducing mind and matter to the same substance.

Herbert Spencer

April 11, 2011

Spencer, Herbert (1820-1903)   Born in working class Derby, England, Spencer was a working man. With no formal schooling, at age 17 he got a job on the railroad. Then, when he turned 28, he set off for London to become a journalist. After a stint as an assistant editor for The Economist, Spencer became a success working the freelance market. Spencer liked the idea of evolution. Basing his ideas on Lamarck, then on Darwin, he proposed evolution is an on-going process of differentiation. Life grows in complexity, and learning occurs by contiguity. For Spencer, when associations occur often enough, they can be passed on to the following generation. Like Bain, Spencer was a hedonist. They believed that pleasure increased the frequency of behavior. Known as the Spencer-Bain principle, it says that the probability of a given behavior occurring increases if it is followed by pleasure, and decreases if that behavior is followed by pain. In 1852, Spencer coined his best known phrase “survival of the fittest.” It was term Darwin later used himself.

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