Science Old and New: Psychology

  • Beverley C. Southgate
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales D’Histoire Des Idés book series (ARCH, volume 134)


Thomas White’s mechanical explanations were applied not only in physics, but also in areas which we would now label as ‘psychology’ — in areas, that is, such as sensation, memory, and imagination. Debating with Joseph Glanvill on the nature of the soul and of sensation, he insists that such phenomena, no less than others, “are subject to the contemplation and scrutiny of Philosophy and accurate Mechanicks.”1 There is, he argues, nothing mysterious about the relationships of body with soul, brain with memory, will with action. These apparent problem areas in psychology are all reducible to the explanatory terms successfully utilised in physics, so that there is no justification for his opponent’s resignation to their essential inexplicability as mysteries.


Pineal Gland External Object Christian Theology Animal Spirit Direct Physical Contact 
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  1. 4.
    Galileo, The Assayer (1623), In Drake ed., Discoveries, p. 276.Google Scholar
  2. 18.
    Kenelm Digby, A Late Discourse... Touching the cure of wounds by the powder of sympathy (London, 1658)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beverley C. Southgate
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HertfordshireUK

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