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28 Cards in this Set

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Systematic emphasis on the idea that human knowledge is not innate but grows inevitably out of the gradual buildup of associations from sensory data.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

Early modern philosopher of science who called for a close examination of the problem of knowledge and increased sensitivity to sources of error. A powerful advocate of a critical empirical-inductive method.

Alexander Bain (1818-1903)

Founded Mind, the first journal devoted extensively to psychological topics. Also the author of some of the first psychological texts.

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

Founder of utilitarianism. Argued against intuitive approaches to jurisprudence that resulted in punishments that do not fit the crime and argued for a rational system of punishments and rewards and the need to maximize pleasure for the greatest possible number of people.

George Berkley (1658-1753)

British philosopher who argued that the real world is not the world of matter but he world of experience. His dictum esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived) marks him as one of the most radical of the early empiricists. Advanced an early empirical approach to depth perception, attempting to demonstrate that we learn to see in depth.

Etienne Bonnot de Condillac (1715-1780)

French radical empiricist who attempted to show specifically how all knowledge could derive from associations that start with simple sensations.


A philosophical position that emphasizes the importance of experience, observation and learning in the acquisition of knowledge.


Belief in the possibility of discerning the fundamental character or intrinsic nature of something.


An early concept that emphasized the beneficial role of self-imposed hardships (eg. sleeping on an uncomfortable bed or exposure to cold weather) as means of preparation for subsequent tasks. Hardening is not quite the same as conditioning in that it involved practices that were more likely to be damaging.

David Hartley (1705-1757)

Founder of modern associationism and one of the first to establish a classification system of pleasures and pains.

Claude-Adrien Helvetius (1715-1771)

French materialist who argued that human actions can be explained on the basis of rewards and punishments. His views were considered radical in his day and he was forced to recant his position.

David Hume (1711-1776)

British empiricist who advanced the view that causality is not a property of objects, and therefore, there are no necessary connections. Causality is thus reduced to a psychological problem and is based on consistent conjunction and our ways of making sense of the successive events in the world.


A term employed by Francis Bacon referring to "phantoms of the mind". Idols are sources of error such as excessive reliance on authority that blind us in our quest for truth.

Idols of the Cave

Local prejudices or strongly preferred hypotheses or theories that interfere with objective responses to data.

Idols of the Marketplace

The temptation to take words too seriously so that naming is confused with explaining. To guard against these Idols, one must constantly re-examine definitions and understand the deceptive dimensions of language.

Idols of the Theatre

Errors of thought based on the easy acceptance of authority or the naive acceptance of a popular paradigm.

Idols of the Tribe

Errors of though resulting from inherent human limitations such as sensory distortions and the tendency to overgeneralize.

John Locke (1632-1704)

One of the greatest philosophers of English speech who insisted that the mind at birth is like a blank slate devoid of characters or ideas. His emphasis on the centrality of experience and learning elevated the importance of universal education.

James Mill (1773-1836)

British philosopher who advanced an uncompromising mechanistic approach to association. Argued strongly for the education of the masses.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

One of the great philosophers of English speech who envisioned a science of human nature based on probabilistic notions. Also one of the first to deplore the subjugation of women.

Primary Qualities

Qualities such as figure, extension, and solidity that are presumed to inhere in objects.

Psychological Hedonism

Belief that human beings seek in all things to gain pleasure and avoid pain.

Secondary Qualities

Powers of objects that contribute to specific sensations such as colours, tastes and sounds.


A subjective philosophical position that makes the claim that the only possible knowledge is self-knowledge.

Harriet Taylor (1807-1858)

Wife of John Stuart Mill. Collaborated with Mill and likely influenced his thought on feminism.


A philosophy advanced by Jeremy Bentham emphasizing the idea that the moral basis of action should be the greatest good for the greatest number.

Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778)

French philosopher who advanced the cause of new philosophies based on observation and experiment. His sharp attacks on un-testable theories and theological dogma continually placed him at risk.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

The most visible early pioneer in the battle for the rights of women. Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.