Psychological knowledge, which appeared in antiquity, fundamentally differs from the every day, primarily the desire
to overcome fragmentation, the fragmentary nature of the latter. The psychology here acted as an integral part of these or those all-embracing philosophical systems.
Philosophical knowledge is knowledge about the most general; it claims to explain everything that exists using large-scale, ultimately general categories, connected by a single fundamental principle in this or that monolithic system. As such categories are usually used: “being”, “matter”, “consciousness”, “man.” Acting as an organic part of this system, the human psyche was referred to here as the “world of ideas” or soul, which was understood as a kind of huge, holistic world, one way or another opposed to matter, to the body.
Psychology as a doctrine of the soul existed as a part of philosophy in the form of the so-called “philosophical psychology” until the New time, when psychological knowledge finally began to acquire the status of a completely independent science.
For the first time, the unfolded doctrine of the soul developed and developed as a part of the materialist philosophy that arose in the sixth century. BC. e. and was historically the first form of Greek philosophy.
The special complexity of the subject of psychology was first noticed by Heraclitus of Ephesus (544-483). In one of the surviving passages from his works we read: “You can not find the boundaries of the soul, no matter what path you take: it is so deep in its essence.” According to the representations of Heraclitus, the basis of the universe is the fiery Logos. From the fire, the entire world as a whole, individual things and our souls took place. Heraclitus divides the souls of people into two categories – “wet and” dry. ”
The more “dry” the soul, the nobler its essence. The imperfection of souls stems from the unreliability of sensory perception: “eyes and ears are bad witnesses for people.”
But the apex of ancient materialism was atomistic materialism, the ancestor of which was Democritus (460-370).
According to this theory, the whole existing consists of two principles: being (indivisible atoms) and non-being (emptiness). Atoms are the smallest particles of matter, indivisible and inaccessible to the senses. They vary in form, size and mobility. All things are formed from the constituent atoms.
By these philosophical ideas, the psychological doctrine of the soul, cognition, feelings, will be developed, and practical questions of human behavior were raised and solved.
Democritus understood the soul as the cause of the movement of the body. The soul, like everything that exists, is also material but consists of the smallest, round and unusually mobile atoms scattered throughout the body. Hence the conclusion that the soul is mortal and is destroyed along with the death of the body.
Unlike Democritus, his contemporary Socrates (470-399 BC) believed that the only source of all that exists, including the human soul, is not the atoms, but the divine mind. Therefore, not a dead nature, but a “divine voice” embedded in a person, should become the center of all philosophical thinking.
Socrates concludes that the body and soul are not one, but they are opposite in their essence, for the soul, unlike the body, is immaterial, immaterial. Unlike the visible body, the soul is invisible. The soul is first of all the mind; what is closest to a deity in human nature. Therefore, the soul is not mortal, but immortal, like the Gods.
Thus began in ancient philosophy the movement of ideas about the essence of the soul in the direction of naive materialism to a more complex doctrine of idealism.
The idealistic understanding of the soul, first proposed by Socrates, reached its highest development in the philosophical system of his great disciple – Plato of Athens (427-347 BC).
According to Plato, the soul destined for each person exists already in the distant cosmos, in a special “world of ideas” even before its birth. He taught that man “is plantation not earthly, but heavenly.” At the birth of a person, the soul unites with it. All mental, psychological phenomena, he divided into three main types: mind, will and low desires. These three parts of the soul, respectively, were obsessed with the head, chest and stomach of a person. The lowest of the parts of the human soul – low desires – is common to man and animals, this is the irrational beginning of the soul; it manifests itself in satisfying the simplest bodily needs. But this part is the largest share in the human soul.
The reason is the highest principle, it is the opposite of the lower, and is aimed at comprehending truth, goodness and beauty. The third principle provides such qualities of a person as will, perseverance, perseverance in achieving the set goal.
In a wise man, according to Plato, all these parts are in harmonic unity. But this harmony is not easy. It is the result of an internal struggle, the result of which is the improvement of man. This struggle is reflected in a variety of human dreams.
At the same time, Plato did not confine himself to the three-membered division of the soul. He saw a great variety of its structure and vividly described such human conditions as anger, fear, sadness, love, envy, etc.
The peak of ancient psychology is Aristotle’s doctrine of the soul (384-322 BC). This work is the first systematic study in the history of psychology on the problem of the spiritual world of man. The soul, according to Aristotle, is the form of a living organic body, and not something brought into it from outside. And the soul gives meaning to the existence of a living body, communicates the purpose of its activity, directs it. The role of the body, therefore, is to be an instrument in the service of the soul. He believed that the tools of the soul are not only the human body but also the body of animals, plants, all, as he put it, “natural bodies,” which distinguishes them from “artificial bodies,” for example from an ax that does not have a soul.
Actually, of course, not the soul itself, but the corresponding body, but the body is animate. Not the soul, but the person thanks the soul works, studies, reflects. All mental states – sleep, wakefulness – are accompanied by bodily manifestations. Therefore, the study of the soul should be a matter for two specialists: a natural scientist who studies the body, and a philosopher, a psychologist who investigates the soul. There is also the main organ that ensures the work of the human soul. Such an organ is the heart. The brain performs an only ancillary function.
Aristotle distinguished in the body various levels of abilities for activity, which constitute a hierarchy of levels of development of the soul.
Aristotle distinguishes three types of the soul: plant, animal and intelligent. Two of them belong to the physical psyche because they can not exist without matter, the third is metaphysical, i.e., the mind exists separately and independently of the physical body as the divine mind. It is easy to see that this characteristic of reason contradicts Aristotle’s general attitude about the inseparable connection between the soul and the living organism.
Aristotle first introduced into psychology the idea of the “dialectic of the soul”, development from the lower levels to its higher forms. At the same time, each person in the process of transformation from an infant to an adult being passed the steps from the plant to the animal, and from it to the intelligent soul.
When characterizing a person, Aristotle put forward knowledge, thinking and wisdom, in the first place. Aristotle’s notions of the soul were rational. This rationalistic view of man, inherent not only to Aristotle but also to antiquity in general, was largely revised within the framework of medieval psychology.