In many ways, studying the history of psychology is like studying the history of any science – like biology or chemistry or quantum physics. We could learn the names and contributions of famous psychologists – along with the date of their birth and death. We might approach the history of psychology by listing important discoveries, major theories, famous experiments, or the ways psychology has been used for good or ill.
But the history of psychology is also unlike that of other sciences. The history of psychology brings with it major worldview perspectives. Our goal is to trace psychology’s worldview perspectives, from its roots in philosophy, through behaviorism, Freud, and humanism, to the evolutionary naturalism of today. Our goal is to contrast each of psychology’s major worldview perspectives with the Christian worldview.
Who do you think was the world’s first psychologist – the first person to wonder about the human mind?
King David thought about it, Job did, Moses, Abraham, and Issac did. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Persians did too. The Psalmist asked, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” Poets, theologians, and philosophers wrote about the mind centuries before psychology became a “science.” Homer, Plato, Shakespeare, and others were early psychologists in the sense that they explored the human condition – our love and hate, hopes and dreams, and fears and fantasies.
But as a scientific endeavor, psychology is pretty new.