chapter  1
Psychology as science
Pages 7

The scientific treatment of psychology assumes that its subject matter, the behaviour of humans and other animals, is similar in relevant respects to the subject matter of other sciences, namely, other natural phenomena. Human behaviour is indeed one of the most recently added areas of scientific investigation, partly due to theological objections: it was formerly considered sacred and not appropriate subject matter for science. (For the history of, and rationale for, the dichotomy between human beings as the possessors of a soul and reason, and other animals whose behaviour is guided by instinct, see Beach, 1955.) This dichotomy was challenged by Darwin's assertion of continuity between human and infrahuman species, which led to the 'brutalisation of Man' and the 'humanisation of animals' (Peters, 1953).