John Stuart Mill
-Major idea that separates empiricism from rationalism
is the source of knowledge (innate vs
learned)….empiricist emphasize “nurture” over
--two major line of empiricism is Associationism
(British) and Mechanism (French).
--associationists explain psychological effects in terms of
lawful relations among ideas separate from the context
of the body…..still dualist….parallel dualist
---mechanists tend to explain mental phenomena in
terms of bodily processes….assumed mental processes
were the same as bodily processes….brain action is
mind, mind is brain action….more monistic view.
David Hume (1711-1776) ..
…Wanted to combine the sciences. He thought the
methods of other fields of science were relevant to the
study of the mind. He thought that studies of the mind
should not only be empirical, but
experimental…wanted to create a science of the mind
Association of Ideas –
---Law of Resemblance –Ideas of one thing stimulate
ideas of similar things.
---Law of Contiguity – tendency to recall things
experienced at the same time.
---Law of Cause and Effect –When thinking of an
outcome one tends to recall events that proceeded the
---Hume thought the law of cause and effect was the
most important of his laws of association….stressed how
causation could be determined
Analysis of Mind and the Self
---thought the content of the mind could be analyzed
like physicists analyze movement of the stars.
…can observe what we call the “mind”
David Hartley (1705-1757) –not known for his own
ideas as much as for summarizing the ideas of his
predecessors….formalized the association camp.
---Hartley’s Parallelism – viewed humans has both
physical and mental aspects….thought both must be
studied b/c body and mind are related…….so each
psychological phenomenon must be studied through
---everything was in parallel….effects in the brain and
ideas run parallel to each other but one does not cause
---Law of Association – His law of association was the
principle of contiguity……you can induce one idea from
another provided one has occurred in conjunction with
the other….paired over time.
….broadened the conception of association to include
motor activity…..movement may help recall an idea and
idea may recall a movement… (ex. Learning to catch a
…first to explain all forms of mental life on the basis of
association in a lawful manner.
James Mill (1773-1836)– similar view as Hartley…..
---2 classes of mental elements 1. sensations 2.
ideas…..all associations reduced to contiguity, but, he
had two subdivisions of contiguity 1. successive 2.
--also described strength of an association….strength of
association explained by 1. frequency 2. vividness
….more often items are contiguous the stronger the
connections….also degree of vivid (uniqueness of the
….Held to a form of mental compounding like most
empiricists at the time…..complex mental states are a
cluster of compounding of two more simple
states…..example….experience of a flavor is made up of
simpler states of taste, smell, texture…..the whole is just
the sum of the parts.----also called “mental physics” or
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) – Rid himself of his
father’s rigid compounding form of associations.
….stressed activity in mind and said when mental
elements combine to form more complex states they give
rise to something new, something not present in the
original parts….presaged Gestalt. (Whole is more than
the sum of its parts).
…idea of the whole is more than the sum of its parts
became known as “mental chemistry” in contrast to the
‘mental compounding” which his father thought.
Important because he described the methodology that
should be used by all sciences and showed how they
could be used in a science of human nature.
Argued for science of ethology. Here ethology means
how individual’s behave in specific situations. Thought
psychology would describe the universal laws that
control general human behavior, but that ethology
would describe individual differences in specific
Alexander Bain (1818-1903) – Linked psychological and
physiological processes even more closely than Hartley
….paid particular attention to reflexes, also habit and
---Attempted a solution to the mind-body
problem…..said they are not separate processes
(suggesting monism)….still a cautious parallelist
........dual nature of mind and matter depends on how
they are viewed…observed objectively “outside” the
mind is a bodily process….viewed subjectively ‘inside”
the processes that go on is mind
….last of the old–school psychologist
---Main innovation was that his psychology rests on up-
to-date physiology, not a hypothetical physiology like
that created by Hartley….thought associations were
linked neurological changes in the brain (like changes in
the synapse in neurons).
---Considered similarity as a second principle of
Added Law of Compound Associations – ideas are
usually associated with multiple idea.
Also added Law of Constructive Associations –
imaginary powers of the mind
…….Bain’s form of mental chemistry became known as
constructive association or imagination
……people can form new ideas (creativity) from old
ideas…..Introduced idea of spontaneous behavior and
hedonism as the source of imagination….with voluntary
behavior some actions are associated with pleasure and
others pain. Those associated with pleasure are
Philosophical associationism supplanted by
psychological asscociationism in the laboratory with
…..true monist view….mind and body are one
…..saw humans as machines, automata
…...significance is that mind, being material, obeys
natural laws….no longer can be considered to function
in terms we cannot understand.
--materialist viewpoint (like Hobbes) there is only
matter and motion…..
Julen Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751) – first of the
modern line of mechanists
---sought to extend Descartes’ views on animal and
human body as machine to mental states as well.
---primary thesis was that the mind (which he says is the
soul) is not immaterial but material.
----equates sense impression with ideas, but even more
sensationalist than Locke, since he makes sensation
alone the source of knowledge…….only by studying
experience and bodily organs can we understand
human nature and actions.
---Human action and misbehavior is explained as a
function of body function and dysfunction.
----other influences on behavior include
experience…enlighten the machine…and drugs and
--differed from other philosophers because he did not
distinguish between humans and animals….thought
they only differed in their desire or wants….humans
have more wants……being without wants is being
---own form of hedonism….organisms are constructed
to seek pleasure…not debauchery which harms the
public, but pleasure that does not harm.
De Condillac – all desire is based on the experience of
pleasure and pain….so all Locke’s powers of the mind
are derived from senses, and memory of senses.
…..primary influence was Locke, but his problem with
Locke’s system was that it made higher mental
processes such as judging, willing, and reasoning
“powers of the mind” without tracing their origins back
to sensations….not empirical
…..gave validity to the idea that animals had the same
processes of the mind as humans…..