Development of ideas about the soul in Greek Antiquity - History of Psychology

Development of ideas about the soul in Greek Antiquity

The successes achieved by the ancient Greek materialists in the understanding of the soul were enormous. They caused a major leap from mythological thinking to scientific and philosophical thinking. The principles of necessity (Heraclitus), causality and determinism (Democritus) were approved with respect not only to physical nature, but also to mental activity. These principles became the methodological basis of the natural scientific explanation of specific psychic manifestations: sensory perception, thinking, dreams, memory, affects, individual differences, etc. They destroyed mythological views of reality, defended a fundamentally new interpretation of nature, the physical world. From the primitive undifferentiated understanding of the soul, we went on to distinguish between her abilities - language, logic and ethics (Stoics).

The opposition of the conceivable to the sensuous is represented in the works of Plato and Aristotle. Plato was dominated by an orientation toward social ideas and mathematics, Aristotle's biology (living world) and logic.

Many of the ancient philosophers (Empedocles, Democritus, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Galen, etc.) were natural scientists in the modern sense. Their judgments and hypotheses were based on observable facts, on careful study of organisms (of course, within the limits in which the means at their disposal allowed them to do so). The general assumption that the assumptions are confirmed by experimental data dominated their thinking even when they were wrong. Thus, Aristotle rejected the doctrine that the brain is the organ of the psyche, proceeding not from speculative considerations, but from the fact established by it: the surface of the cerebral hemispheres does not have pain sensitivity.

Sometimes the rational course of thought was expressed in forms that today seem absolutely fantastic. It seems to us, for example, the strange assurance of the ancients that thinking is localized in a person's breathed air, but behind it there was a reality that reflected the reality that thinking is inseparable from speech. It reflected the connection between philosophy and poetry, the sounding word-the early philosophers were poets-poetic was a way of expressing philosophical thoughts. Among the true facts obtained in the period of Antiquity, there are related not only to the physiological principles of behavior (for example, the opening of nerves), but also to mental activity as such (Plato's discovery of the role of inner speech in the processes of logical cognition, Aristotle's discovery of fantasy, Stoics and Epicureans of the field of sensory-imaginative thinking, etc.).

In a number of cases, in subsequent epochs, the concepts of the ancient Greeks were adopted, which received new content (for example, concepts of temperaments, affects, abilities, fantasy, dialogical thinking, etc.).

We see on the evolution of the world outlook views of the late Greek Antiquity (Stoicism, Cynicism, Seneca, Aurelius), how the bias towards the Christian ideology occurred, how new ideas emerged about what was formerly called the soul, its new aspects, conscience, and as well as self-education, equality of people by birth and before the law, especially evident in the teachings of Seneca.

It may seem that we have considered issues that are alien to psychology (for example, criticism of Christianity by the Goal-som). But it should be understood that the history of mankind, according to K. Marx, is an open book of human abilities on the basis of which all the creations of mankind were created. All spiders have the source of their data sensory organs of researchers, and therefore are related to psychology. It is not philosophy, but psychology is the basis for understanding the world, as empirical psychology will assert. In the period under consideration, it was precisely philosophy (the Greco-Roman world) and then theology (Medieval) that determined the picture of the world.

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