Rene Descartes was a man obsessed with finding things out for himself, an intellectual who contributed to the field of psychology. Born in the 16th century, Descartes grew up in a society where ideas, thoughts and perceptions were not questioned but were supposed to be understood and supported. While growing up and through his studies, Descartes began to make strides in the fields of philosophy, mathematics and science. Descartes was a man who challenged accepted ideas and aided the field of psychology through his contributions to reflex theory, helping describe the mind-body problem, and challenging accepted theological ideas.
An automaton is a mechanical robot that can be defined as a machine that moves itself. Descartes believed that humans and animals moved and acted in the same fashion of the automatons. A hydraulic system is how Descartes explained movements in humans: the brain pushed fluid from the brain through the nerves to our body causing humans to move (Bolles 25-30). After his death, scientist did an experiment and came to the conclusion that the hydraulic idea was incorrect. What might seem as a complete failure of an idea actually became one of the beginning ideas of a reflexive theory (Schultz 26).
?This idea of reflex action can also be seen as a precursor of modern-response psychology, in which an external object brings about an involuntary response,? (Schultz 28). This is a key idea to the reflexive theory that Descartes developed, the idea that humans have an involuntary response. During his work he did several illustration and experiments to test the idea that humans cannot control all of their actions. In one such case Descartes described shows how a human eye cannot be co...
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...utual relationship between a humans mind and body. Probably the most difficult and revolutionary thing Descartes did, was make it acceptable to criticize and religion. While he did face criticism for this, he opened up ideas of thought and rationality. An important lesson Descartes taught is that everything in your mind should be in doubt and questions. Descartes is significant because he knew the power of a question.
Bolles, Robert C. The Story of Psychology: A Thematic History. Belmont, Calf.:
Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1993.
Lowry, Richard. The Evolution of Psychological Theory. New York, NY.: Aldine
Publishing Company, 1971.
Schultz, Duane. A History of Modern Psychology. San Diego, Calf.: Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich Publishers, 1987.
Watson, Robert. The Great Psychologists. Durhan N.H.: J.B. Lippincott Company.
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