Class 5 2017

History of Psychology Class 5 Sept 19, 2017

Plato – Paradox of learning. How can I learn something if I do not know it already?      

           Examples – (1) Verbally, ask how to spell ‘psychology.’   Told to look it up in the dictionary. Do you understand the dilemma?   (2) How do you learn what a circle is, beginning from the FIRST exposure. What were you exposed to? From class, that was the point of circle or triangle vs. closed figure. Remember?

Aristotle – Weimer emphasized the nominalism and associationism of Aristotle. More generally, as an opposite of rationalism, we need to introduce empiricism.  That refers to experience, especially perceptual experience (through the senses).

Then characterize these features of Aristotle’s Science, biology, as examples.

           4 causes; teleology [special term related to  FINAL CAUSE]         See links on syllabus home page.

           Laws of association — Associationism (Aristotle – 350 B.C.E). Aristotle asserted three Laws of Association and a Law of Frequency that are considered by many to be at the heart of most behavioral learning theories. These laws, summarized by Olson and Hergenhahn (1982, p. 35), are as follows:

  1. Law of Similarity – the experience or recall of one object will elicit the recall of things similar to that object.
  2. Law of Contrast – the experience or recall of one object will elicit the recall of opposite things.
  3. Law of Contiguity – the experience or recall of one object will elicit the recall of things that were originally experienced along with that object.
  4. Law of Frequency – the more frequently two things are experienced together, the more likely it will be that the experience or recall of one will stimulate the recall of the second.     Weibell, C. J. (2011). Principles of learning: 7 principles to guide personalized, student-centered learning in the technology-enhanced, blended learning environment. Retrieved September 19, 2017 from [].


common sensibles [same regardless of sensory modality – number and extent, for example, are the same for touch, sight, hearing, etc.] and

special sensibles [specific to modality – color is vision, pitch is hearing etc.]

Then on to Thomas Kuhn — Highlights of Kuhn – 1962 The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Turns philosophy of science towards History of Science.   Developed the organizing concept of Paradigm, as opposed to scientific theory.   Paradigm Shift is a crucial buzzword.