The modern philosophical form of psychology was heavily influenced by the works of Augustine acolyte René Descartes (1596–1650), and the debates that he generated. Also important to the later development of psychology were his Passions of the Soul (1649) and Treatise on Man (completed in 1632 but, along with the rest of The World, withheld from publication after Descartes heard of the Catholic Church’s condemnation of Galileo; it was eventually published posthumously, in 1664). Descartes dissected animals and human cadavers and as a result was familiar with the research on the flow of blood leading to the conclusion that the body is a complex device that is capable of moving without the soul, thus contradicting the “Doctrine of the Soul.” Descartes is regarded as the “father of modern philosophy.”

 

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+descartes&qpvt=images+descartes&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=E208924D338001D9450EDBD996E01FC02E53B29F&selectedIndex=584

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_psychology#Enlightenment_psychological_thought

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Descartes#Emancipation_from_Church_doctrine

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Many elements of Descartes’ philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, the revived Stoicism of the 16th century, or in earlier philosophers like Augustine. In his natural philosophy, he differs from the schools on two major points: First, he rejects the analysis of corporeal substance into matter and form; second, he rejects any appeal to ends—divine or natural—in explaining natural phenomena.  

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In Descartes’ theology, like Augustine, Descarte insists on the absolute freedom of God’s act of creation.

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Descartes was a major figure in 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Hume. Leibniz, Spinoza and Descartes were all well versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, and Descartes and Leibniz contributed greatly to science as well.

He is perhaps best known for the philosophical statement “Cogito ergo sum” (French: Je pense, donc je suis; English: I think, therefore I am), found in part IV of Discourse on the Method (1637 – written in French but with inclusion of “Cogito ergo sum“) and §7 of part I of Principles of Philosophy (1644 – written in Latin).

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Emancipation from Church doctrine

Descartes has been often dubbed as the father of modern Western philosophy, the philosopher that with his sceptic approach has profoundly changed the course of Western philosophy and set the basis for modernity.   The first two of his Meditations on First Philosophy, those that formulate the famous methodic doubt, represent the portion of Descartes’ writings that most influenced modern thinking.   It has been argued that Descartes himself didn’t realize the extent of his revolutionary gesture.   In shifting the debate from “what is true” to “of what can I be certain?,” Descartes shifted the authoritative guarantor of truth from God to humanity. (While the traditional concept of “truth” implies an external authority, “certainty” instead relies on the judgment of the individual.) In an anthropocentric revolution, the human being is now raised to the level of a subject, an agent, an emancipated being equipped with autonomous reason. This was a revolutionary step that posed the basis of modernity, the repercussions of which are still ongoing: the emancipation of humanity from Christian revelational truth and Church doctrine, a person who makes her own law and takes her own stand.   In modernity, the guarantor of truth is not God anymore but human beings, each of whom is a “self-conscious shaper and guarantor” of their own reality.    In that way, each person is turned into a reasoning adult, a subject and agent,  as opposed to a child obedient to God. This change in perspective was characteristic of the shift from the Christian medieval period to the modern period; that shift had been anticipated in other fields, and now Descartes was giving it a formulation in the field of philosophy.

This anthropocentric perspective, establishing human reason as autonomous, provided the basis for the Enlightenment‘s emancipation from God and the Church. It also provided the basis for all subsequent anthropology.   Descartes’ philosophical revolution is sometimes said to have sparked modern anthropocentrism and subjectivism.

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3 Responses to The modern philosophical form of psychology was heavily influenced by the works of Augustine acolyte René Descartes (1596–1650), and the debates that he generated. Also important to the later development of psychology were his Passions of the Soul (1649) and Treatise on Man (completed in 1632 but, along with the rest of The World, withheld from publication after Descartes heard of the Catholic Church’s condemnation of Galileo; it was eventually published posthumously, in 1664). Descartes dissected animals and human cadavers and as a result was familiar with the research on the flow of blood leading to the conclusion that the body is a complex device that is capable of moving without the soul, thus contradicting the “Doctrine of the Soul.” Descartes is regarded as the “father of modern philosophy.”

  1. Pingback: Augustinian mystic Martin Luther — Aquinas cognition John Calvin — and yet, Bertrand Russell & Apostle John are Augustinian & Plato logos (analytical) acolytes — huli ‘au (upside down in Hawaiian), baby!! | Curtis Narimatsu

  2. Pingback: Here we have Augustinian mystic Martin Luther — and Aquinas cognitive John Calvin — and yet, Bertrand Russell & Apostle John are Augustinian & Plato logos (analytical) epic movers — huli ‘au (upside down in Hawaiian), baby!

  3. Pingback: Here we have Augustinian mystic Martin Luther — and Aquinas cognitive John Calvin — and yet, Bertrand Russell & Apostle John are Augustinian & Plato logos (analytical) epic movers — huli ‘au (upside down in Hawaiian), baby!

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