Graziano and Raulin (8th ed)Graziano & Raulin
Research Methods (8th edition)

III. NINETEENTH CENTURY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The 19th Century was a time of rapid developments in science and technology. It was more than just a continuation of the 18th Century (the Age of Reason). Rather, the 19th Century opened with an already-brewing romantic protest against the Newtonian view of a mechanical universe. Its central focus was on the emotional rather than intellectual or reasoned life; its major metaphor was more biological than mechanical, emphasizing growth, development, and evolutionary change. 

The essence of reality for the romantic philosophers is not mechanical smooth functioning, but the often hidden, internal reality and meaning of life and existence. A rose cannot be understood by pulling it apart and examining its different features, but must be understood in its entirety, including its gradual development from a bud to a flower. Wholeness, growth, and evolutionary change toward finer completion were the hallmarks of the era. 

The romantic philosophies, with their biological, evolutionary, and human emotional emphases, set the stage set for the emergence of the humanitarian reform movement, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the Freudian conception of emotional development and functioning. Indeed, this is what emerged in the 19th Century.

By the middle of the 19th Century, we see the growing integration of two great movements, reason and romanticism. The science and technology that developed during the remainder of the 19th Century, through the 20th, and into the 21st Century was based on an integration or reason and romanticism.

Some of the people discussed here were born just before the 19th Century, and some extended into the 20th Century. Nearly all of the important contributions in this section were made during the 19th Century. Psychology as a separate science emerged in this century, with Wilhelm Wundt’s laboratory in Leipzig, Germany in 1879. However, this section will cover only those contributions that occurred before the emergence of psychology or those contributions that were in areas outside of psychology. The emergence of psychology in the 19th Century will be presented in Section IV.

Of spectacular importance in the subsequent development of modern science was the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution--the origin of species through natural selection (Darwin, 1859). Evolution was an old idea, first proposed by ancient Greek philosophers. Darwin and Wallace, however, provided insight into a plausible mechanism--natural selection--and they added substantial data in support of their theory. The theory of evolution through natural selection had enormous influence on biology, economics, medicine, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and even religion and politics.

The inclusion of aeronautical pioneers (Blanchard, Cayley, Chanute, Langley, Lillienthal, Orville and Wilbur Wright) may seem unusual in a research methods textbook in psychology. They are included to make two points. First, the 19th and early 20th Centuries were periods of great discovery and advances in engineering, transportation, communication, medicine, and education. These developments changed forever the ways people lived and thought about the world. The development of flight is one of those advances. Secondly, this development of mechanical flight is a dramatic illustration of how science and technology proceed, often in small steps, advancing from previous discoveries to new ones. In this example, we can refer to Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of flight 400 years before the Wright brothers. 

The Wrights were great pioneers. But they were not, as often portrayed, tinkerers who suddenly invented the airplane. By their own statements, they were careful empirical researchers who knew the relevant technical literature, who reasoned and experimented, and who built upon the knowledge that had accumulated before them.

In this section you will find:

Blanchard, Jean Pierre Francois Darwin, Erasmus Pasteur, Louis
Cayley, George Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Wallace, Alfred Russell
Chanute, Octave Langley, Samuel Pierpont Wright, Orville
Darwin, Charles Lillienthal, Otto Wright, Wilbur

 

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