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Also concerned with refuting skepticism

In contrast with empiricism, reason is the guide to knowledge

A priori knowledge (vs. experience)

Mind actively selects, organizes, and discriminates (vs. blank slate in which information received through the senses & knowledge built up through association)

Deductive reasoning (vs. inductive)


Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

Preferred deduction from self-evident truths

Ordinary observation of natural events followed by critical reflection as foundation for science

"interactionism"--mind & body separate substances, interact somehow through brain (pineal gland)

Because mind is not bound by natural laws, humans have free will


Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)

Also emphasized self-evident truths & careful analysis of sensory information

Only one ultimate reality—God

No demons, mentally ill are not possessed

Mind & body are not separate, mental processes are part of the natural order & subject to natural laws

Therefore, no absolute free will


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

Actually sought middle road between extremes of empiricism & rationalism

Knowledge is combination of sensory experience and ordering principles of the mind, mind actively transforms raw sensory material through innate organizing abilities

Johann Herbart (1776-1841)

one of goals of education to build "apperception mass"

Apperception—complex mental operations, including abstracting, novel application, problem-solving

Mechanization & Quantification

Growing interest in the mechanistic view of the world, & specifically, human behavior

Thomas Hobbes influential in this view

Biological & psychological processes assumed to operate like the movement of machines

Increasingly sophisticated understanding of CNS/PNS

Growth of measurement theory & statistics

Galton’s contributions to correlation & regression

Normal curve & application to social sciences