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Thomas Cogswell Upham

Thomas Cogswell Upham

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Thomas Upham was an American philosopher, psychologist, pacifist, poet, author, and educator. He was an important figure in the holiness movement
Holiness movement
The holiness movement refers to a set of beliefs and practices emerging from the Methodist Christian church in the mid 19th century. The movement is distinguished by its emphasis on John Wesley's doctrine of "Christian perfection" - the belief that it is possible to live free of voluntary sin - and...

. He became influential within psychology literature and served as the Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College , founded in 1794, is an elite private liberal arts college located in the coastal Maine town of Brunswick, Maine. As of 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowdoin 6th among liberal arts colleges in the United States. At times, it was ranked as high as 4th in the country. It is...

 professor of mental and moral philosophy from 1825-1868. His most popular work, Mental Philosophy received 57 editions over a 73-year period. Additionally, he produced a volume of 16 other books and the first treatise on abnormal psychology, as well as several other works on religious themes and figures. Specific teachings included a conception of mental faculties - one of these restoring the will to psychology be developing a tripartite division of mental phenomena into intellectual, sentient, and voluntary. The intellect subsumed sensation and perception, attention, habit, association, and memory as well as reasoning. Sensibilities included natural emotions and desires, such as appetites, propensities, and affections, and also moral emotions, such as a feeling of obligation. Finally, the last division was the will, which allowed for volition as a basic component of human nature. This positing of a will free to choose between desires and obligations reflected the authors own spiritual journey from a Calvinistic background to the Wesleyan holiness perspective. However, perhaps the most critical contribution to the field of psychology was Upham's concept of Positive psychology
Positive psychology
Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose was summed up in 1998 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: "We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise, which achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving in...

 which asserts: There are fundamental, transcendent laws, and living in harmony with the is the key to mental and spiritual health. This concept laid the foundation for a healthy kind of religiosity, and a spiritually-based positive psychology.


"Thomas Cogswell Upham, Manual of Peace, embracing, I. Evils and
remedies of War; II. Suggestions on the Law of Nations, III.
Considerations of a Congress of Nations (New York: Leavitt, Lord and
Company, 1836).

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