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.
Socrates (469-399 BC)Primarily known through Plato’s writings, Socrates is sometimes called the first social scientist because of his interest in ethics, economics, and aesthetics. He believed that thought came from the psyche (the spirit or soul of the individual). Tall, dark and handsome would not have described Socrates well. Short, dark and unattractive would have been closer. But his sharp mind, witty sense of humor, and unequaled speaking ability made him very popular. He preferred talking to writing, and spent much of his life in the marketplace of Athens. Socrates was more concerned with the nature of man than with the composition of matter. In 399 BC, Socrates was charged with interfering with the gods (a crime punishable by death). His continued reference to an inner voice was interpreted as demonic possession, and his teaching was thought to undermine the morals of Athen’s youth. Found guilty by a small majority, Socrates countered with an alternative sentence (as was customary). Instead of suggesting a serious alternative, however, Socrates offered to pay a small fine. They jury was not amused, and with increased majority sentenced him to die by lethal dosage of hemlock.
Small, Willard S (1870=1943) The fourth person to impact animal research was Willard .S. Small. In 1901, he invented the animal maze. It became the first practical way to systematically test animal responses, and has been widely used to study physiological and psychological issues (including motivation, learning, and memory).
Romanes, George John (1848-1894)George John Romanes (1848-1894) collected anecdotal material on the importance of animals. A friend of Charles Darwin, Romanes collected animal stories and attributed human characteristics to animals (anthropomorphism).
Reid, Thomas (1710-1796)Like Hartley, Thomas Reid was the son of a minister. Although Reid’s uncle was a personal friend of Newton, Reid was not an empiricist. Reid’s rationalism was a reaction against Hume and a defense of commonsense thinking. Hume questioned reality because it is experienced only through our senses; Reid pointed out that real people know and deal with reality all the time. Clearly the mind knows more than its own processes, and actively organizes sensations. Reid’s “faculty psychology” included six intellectual powers: perception, judgment, memory, conception, moral taste and will. People have the ability (faculty) to actively interact with the world around them. This interaction is direct, and requiers no specialized philosophy; it’s simply naive realism.
Pyrrho of Elis (360-270)He was the leader of the Skeptics. Traveling as part of Alexander’s entourage to Persia and India, Pyrrho discovered that all of the truths he firmly held were not accepted everywhere. Travel is such an eye-opening experience because you not only see places, you meet people with different backgrounds, cultures and values. It is not uncommon to re-evaluate your assumptions about life the first time you meet a person from a different culture who is nice, reasonable, thoughtful, and yet has an entirely different view of life. Having found truth in other cultures, Pyrrho maintained that we should withhold judgment of other people and their beliefs. Truth is not absolute, and, indeed, cannot be known. Consequently, we examine our lives and maintain a spiritual attitude of tranquillity, calm and freedom from passion. Because this process of examination (skeptesthai) involves the questioning of assumptions, skepticism has come to represent the questioning of reality.