On Leahy’s

Ph.D. in Psychology
Ph.D. in Psychology

According to Thomas H. Leahey, the traditional history of science was written by scientist themselves that resulted in smug and self-satisfied works, which made them biased in a certain extent that they only considered accounts in the development of science that they want to reckon. However, historians have written history on a different framework, seeing history of science as a weak human enterprise unresolvable from the rest of human history, imposing fear among scientist that this nontraditional perception on the history of science may influence their students to undermine their faith in science.

Despite the development of the History of Psychology, it is evident that much of psychology’s past have been ignore such that chapters on the books on History of Psychology provide no sense of the past and of what is like to be a psychologist, a physiologist or a philosopher before. Thus rationalizes Topics in History of Psychology is history without the past; also justifying Ebbinghaus’ famous line that “Psychology has a very short history, but with a long past.”

Even scholars or psychologist are historically ignorant about studying the field without even considering events happening outside the field that could have been significant in the study of psychology. In addition, they are shallow in a sense that even they who write about the History of Psychology commit mistakes, lacking depth of intellect or knowledge and concerned only with what is obvious resulting in many errors that new psychology historians have corrected and repeatedly written. Therefore justifying why we only have few references, whereas other books have become obsolete and others were never used.

In Leahey’s article, mistakes on the study Psychology were emphasized, including how psychology historians or scholars place value judgments to the extent of writing one’s own perspective rather than putting focus on different perspective. For instance, Edwin G. Boring’s first textbook was not only published as reference book but also has a deeper motive, which is to be used as a defense weapon against John B. Watson’s growing Behaviorism.

Psychology historians have no respect for the value of the past not realizing that everything in the past influences the present; that the past plays an important role in the development of the theories in psychology that we have right now. This is what they consider as Whig and can be linked with the presentist point of view—looking at history from the present perspectives and ideas as a product of the present. There is also an issue on internalism, whereby historians tend to have studied what was happening within the field without regards to what developments other fields have that could contribute to the development in the theories of psychology. In addition, psychology historians associate history with great men and undermining women, because women before have no stand or place in society, which is really discriminating. Furthermore, History of Psychology was represented by only few personalities whereas other great minds were ignored; thus, psychology historians focus on individuals rather than works. Lastly, they are ignorant and shallow that they only have limited view on the study as a result on the mistakes presented above.

As a psychology student, I would have to say that its disappointing that even scholars of the very own field that I am studying now are ignorant, that I also see myself like them. The fact that I have not known much and that I only remember few names and dates make me want to know more about psychology. And as mush as possible I would not want to commit same mistakes that those psychology scholars have committed in the study of the History of Psychology.

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