who was the first known theoristgreenspun.com : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread
for my port folio i aminterested to find out who was the first theorist to practise psychology
-- kathleen ferguson (email@example.com), September 07, 2002
I'm afraid it is not at all clear what you are asking. What exactly do you have in mind when you say a "theorist" (would Locke count? Aristotle?), and what do you mean by "practice" (conduct practical experiments? engage in "clinical" practice?)?
For instance, Aristotle's theory of the psyche was based, in part, on years of (what we would now call) zoological observations when he lived on Lesbos. He did experiments of a sort, cutting up small marine worms to see if their different "psychological" powers resided in different parts of their bodies. The muslim scholar Al Hazen did experiments on what we now call optics, anticipating by centuries the better-known (in the West) work of Roger (not Francis) Bacon, Galileo, and Newton. The term psychology seems to have first been used by a Croatian theologian named Marko Marulic (see http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Krstic/marulic.htm). Of course the word "psychology" was used very differently by him than by us -- it was a branch of metaphysics. It didn't begin to take on its modern meaning until the 18th-c. German philosopher Christian Wolff distinguished between "rational" and "empirical" psychology, a distinction that was picked up by the French "philosophes" (see Diderot's famed _Encyclopédie_ for an example). By the mid 19th-century Weber and Fencher were conducting their psychophysical experiments, but neither regarded himself as a "psychologist". Nor did Helmholtz, who did many experiments we now think of as having been psychological in nature. And of course then there's Wundt, who did call himself a "physiological psychologist."
If it's *clinical* practice you have in mind, there was a slew of "hypnotists" (as they were eventually called), starting with Mesmer (more or less) and continuing on, often well out of the mainstream, until the time of Charcot. But Charcot called himself (I believe) a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. Freud learned hypnotism from Charcot (among others) but he called himself a psychoanalyst, so does he count?
You see the problem.
-- Christopher Green (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 07, 2002.