Juan Huarte de San Juan: biography of this precursor of psychology

Juan Huarte de San Juan (1529-1588) was one of the physicians and philosophers who established the foundations of modern psychology in Spain, a question which significantly challenged the religious canons of the day. Among other things, he proposed that it was possible to analyze in order to experience the psychological differences between human beings.

We will see in this article a biography of Juan Huarte de San Juan, As well as some of his main contributions to the development of psychology in Spain.

    Juan Huarte de San Juan: biography of the “owner” of Spanish psychology

    Historical studies show that Juan Huarte was born in the Basque town of Sant Joan de Peu de Port around 1529. His family emigrated to Andalusia, which is why in 1540 Juan Huarte was already in the province of Baeza.

    The time later studied medicine in the northeast of Madrid, in Alcala, and later it exercised the same office in La Mancha. Later returned to Baeza, place where the first edition of its great work Examination of the science project for sciences was published, in 1575.

    The impact was such that his work quickly spread to different Spanish provinces. From Bilbao to Valencia and later in neighboring towns, as translated into French and Italian. In 1581 it fell into the hands of the kingdoms of Portugal, where it was included in the books banned by the Inquisition. The same thing happened in the Kingdoms of Spain three years later.

    Juan Huarte de San Juan died towards 1558. Years later, in 1594, its work was republished with important modifications that the same Huarte had realized to avoid the prohibition of the Inquisition. However, in Spain this edition was printed and distributed until 1846 because it was again abolished.

      Engineering test for science

      Juan Huarte de San Juan lived over a century ago, which is why it was difficult to find his full biography. In fact, little is known about the life of Huarte de San Juan; he is best known for his work and his impact on the development of modern psychology and science.

      What Huarte de San Juan proposed in this book he broke with the Christian idea of ​​the immortal and immaterial soul that inhabited the body. As part of the organicist conception of the human being, Saint John argued that reason, judgment and understanding (which was understood as the soul) were not of a spiritual nature, but had a physiological basis. and biological that could be studied and studied. manipulated. And at the same time, he was not properly immortal, but could get sick and die.

      But I didn’t just suggest it. His thesis also implied that understanding was product of a particular evolutionary development, as well as in educationSo, it was quite natural (neither mystical nor religious) to find significant differences between the ingenuity of each.

      Huarte himself inscribes his research on a “natural philosophy” (which over time will become the basis of modern psychology), and positions it in stark contrast to metaphysicians or “vulgar philosophers” like him. from the Middle Ages.

      Intellectual and cerebral relationship

      Huarte de San Juan was one of the first to claim that he had a direct relationship between understanding and the brain. Unlike his predecessors, this philosopher argued that in order for the intellect to develop and manifest itself, it was necessary for the body to make it possible.

      The sensory and bodily experience was the one that gave rise to the understanding, was also the one that allows to differentiate the individual way of manifesting, which later would pay attention not only in the body but in a single organ (the brain ).

      In other words, according to Huarte, it is thanks to these differences in the particular functioning of the organs that the human being develops different forms of intellect. Thus, some organs are “more” or “better” developed than others, they would determine the intellectual development or the corresponding functioning.

      Moreover, the differences in I conceive, by Huarte, could be pronounced by three specific foundations, which were explained in the same work:

      • On the one hand, nature, referring to the physiological foundations of the human being and the faculties of each.
      • On the other hand, art, which refers to the differences in ingenuity and science according to their political needs.
      • Finally, the harmony of the two preceding ones, represented by the king as the highest scale of ingenuity according to his terms.

      Finally, in Juan Huarte de San Juan we found something similar to the distinction between fluid and crystallized intelligence that would be realized centuries later after his death, since he distinguishes between mental agility and the fruit of the application of previously acquired knowledge.

      In short, for Huarte de San Juan, the intellect or the understanding is the motor of the body and is the nature of the principle of everything. His work represented one of the first ways to understand understanding from organic activity, which had a significant impact on the beginnings of modern psychology.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Bellido Mainar, JR., Sanz Valer, P., Berrueta Maeztu, LM. (2012). Joan de Huarte de San Juan: precursor of the analysis of the activity and the professional orientation. TOG (Corunna) [En línea]. Accessed October 18, 2018.Available at http://www.revistatog.com/num15/pdfs/historia1.pdf.
      • Gondra, JM (1994). Juan Huarte de San Juan and the differences in intelligence. Psychology yearbook. University of Barcelona, ​​60: 13-34.
      • Velarde, J. (1993). Huarte de San Juan, model of psychology. Psicothema, 5 (2): 451-458.

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