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Author Goodfield, Cindi
Title Erasmus Darwin's place in the history of psychology
book jacket
Descript 194 p
Note Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 34-01, page: 0408
Thesis (M.A.)--York University (Canada), 1984
The following thesis explores Erasmus Darwin's vitalistic conception of organic functioning, with its emphasis on movement
Chapter one provides some background information on Erasmus Darwin's life, interests, works and accomplishments. It also provides an outline of the remaining chapters. Chapter two offers a detailed exposition of Darwin's ideas on organic functioning as presented in his Zoonomia. Darwin maintains that the organism's behavior is the function of the quantity of sensorial power residing within the organism, which is secreted and produced by the brain, and the strength of the impinging stimulus. In other words, behavior is the function of both the organism and the presenting stimulus. This particular view represented an important change from the traditional mechanical conception of organic functioning, which saw behavior as solely determined by the external circumstances that presented themselves. Chapter 3, explores the implications that follow from Darwin's theory of organic functioning (i.e., the subsuming of psychology under physiology and the elimination of the mind-body dualism). It also explores the implications of this perspective, given the social and political context in which he wrote. The nature of the reception of Darwin's ideas during and after his lifetime is discussed. The final chapter attempts to dispel the commonly held view among historians of psychology, that the incorporation of movement into associationist psychology is to be attributed to Alexander Bain. In fact, this step was taken by Erasmus Darwin. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
School code: 0267
Host Item Masters Abstracts International 34-01
Subject Biography
History of Science
Psychology, General
Alt Author York University (Canada)
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