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Current Constructive Theories in Psychology*

Nature volume 130, pages 388391 (10 September 1932) | Download Citation



ON Aug. 29 there occurred the tercentenary of one who is often called ‘the father of English psychology’, John Locke, 1632–1704. His “Essay concerning Human Understanding” is primarily a theory of knowledge, not a system of psychology, but none the less there is much of psychological interest in the Essay, and it has had a profound influence on empirical psychology in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We may regard it as a misfortune that what he described as a “historical plain method” should have been interpreted as a genetic study, and that his doctrine of simple and complex ideas should have been translated into a doctrine of psychological elements and compounds; but such has been the case. Historians trace a straight line of descent from the Essay of Locke to the “Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind” by James Mill, and thus claim Locke as a founder of the Association school.

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