The Principles Of Psychology Volume I

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  3. The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1
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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Principles of Psychology, Vol 1 4. As such, it should not be confused with the many abridgements that omit key sections. The book presents lucid descriptions of human mental activity, with detailed considerations of the stream of thought, consciousness, time perception, memory, imagination, emotions, reason, abnormal phenomena, and similar topics.

It examines contrasting interpretations of mental phenomena, treating introspective analysis, philosophical interpretations, and experimental research. Paperback , pages. Published June 1st by Dover Publications first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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Jul 12, Chrissy rated it really liked it Recommends it for: This was an extremely fascinating, challenging, and at times infuriating read: Fascinating because James accurately predicted so much of modern psychology in , before the experimental method really existed beyond psychophysics, which he lambasts as a waste of time when one could just introspect instead ; Challenging because he roots so many of his insights and explanations in classical philosophy, a slow and thorough approach that breaks the issues down to their fundamental assumptions for This was an extremely fascinating, challenging, and at times infuriating read: Fascinating because James accurately predicted so much of modern psychology in , before the experimental method really existed beyond psychophysics, which he lambasts as a waste of time when one could just introspect instead ; Challenging because he roots so many of his insights and explanations in classical philosophy, a slow and thorough approach that breaks the issues down to their fundamental assumptions for examination I'm not at all used to approaching psychology in this way, and it was extremely rewarding, if laborious ; Infuriating because for all he got right, he also got so, so much wrong.

James was a religious man, and while he tries to leave spirituality separate from the study of psychology, it regularly seeps back in through his language and assumptions throughout. Mind Dust from the Soul. The book is also home to a wide gamut of hilariously antiquated social faux-pas, from racism to sexism to good old classism. The "old Princeton boys" manner of speech is pure comedy when applied to an elaborate discussion of how boring Germany must be for psychophysics to have come into existence.


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I got a lot of enjoyment from the book for this rich-white-Victorian comedy appeal alone. I'm actually really, really glad I read this book. It doesn't offer much in the way of real insight into my own work, but I feel my perspective has broadened significantly through a consideration of my field's humble roots. Oct 30, Jamey rated it it was amazing. Written in , it's a classic tastycake! Mar 18, Rosemary Ferlinger rated it it was amazing. Amazing insights and extraordinary neurological detail along with extremely cogent reasoning gives this book a modern aura if it weren't for the antiquated language.

A startling look into a brilliant 19th century mind. Mar 30, Sean Murray rated it it was ok. Read it if you must.

An important historical document. In this abbreviated edition of his classic work, James' model for how we interact with the environment is simple enough. Input comes from environmental stimuli, the brain processes it and converts it into bodily output action.

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We do react to stimuli, but his model has us as passive responders to what comes at us from the outside. We are more than what this model suggests. Drawing from Schopenhauer and from Darwin, we are impelled to go out into the world by Will Schopenhauer to actively seek food, shelter, sex, status, love, group membership, etc. The fuller model is, sequentially, life energy Will, biological survival , species-specific life energy, and individual propensities inborn character all are involved in directing how we react to what comes at us, how we seek the objects objectives we need, and how much energy that is applied to them.

Viewed this way, reaction and seeking are active components in the service of survival. Importantly, our interaction with the environment starts from within. James' model may reflect a residual inheritance of the Western philosophical tradition coming from Plato and others that believes the mind rides supreme. James may also advance as well as reflect a behaviorist model where human nature slides into the background, which leaves human reason free to create ideals for humans and society. When James refers to will, he means rational control, not the core, inner impulse that is Schopenhauer's Will that pushes reason.

When James refers to motivation, he is referencing the "exciting" capacity of external stimuli, not the impulses prompted by internal need. The sharpness of James' theory fades when the next question is asked.

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Yes, external stimuli excite, but what is it inside of us that causes us to care enough to 1 be excited, and 2 to react one way and not another? James notes that the body mysteriously? Elsewhere, he states that we love adulation, we desire to please, and we are ambitions and vain. These well-known human traits are not reactive, but inner needs that motivate us to go out into the world and seek interaction with external objects in particular ways. James' theory does not allow for an inner "given" human being because, it might be speculated, this does not provide sufficient flexibility for us to become what James would hope we might become.

Again, he says, objects and thoughts of objects motivate our reaction, and pleasure and pain reinforce or inhibit how we react. This view is at odds with Schopenhauer and Darwin's view that not only do we have a common life impulse Will, survival , we also have a relatively fixed character that defines or provides a propensity for what objects we seek and defend against and the level of energy that we apply to them. Our inner character defines a substantial collection of inner needs. These needs Schopenhauer says are "pain". They are something we want to be satisfied. Pain prompts our action in the world, both seeking and reacting, to satisfy need.

When we are successful in seeking or reacting, we experience pleasure and then actions stop until the life force within pops up again e. He rejects Schopenhauer's "determinism" of "fixed character" and goes on to say that "The problem with the man is less what act he shall now resolve to do than what being he shall now choose to become. Rather, it is the "heroic man" who by "pure inward willingness That is the evolutionary role for mind.

The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1

However, the ends that the mind serves are relatively fixed generally, survival ends and well-being, and by variable character traits that help define how each of us more specifically interact with the environment , and mind's role is to make choices about how these fixed biological needs will be met. Even with his admirable attempt to unite psychology with Darwinian biology, James nevertheless minimizes the role for relatively fixed biological ends, and he believes that we more or less have a blank slate to create ourselves.

The alternative perspective outlined here suggests we are more anchored, for good and bad, than what James would allow. This is, perhaps, a more realistic assessment of who we are and who we are able to become. View all 4 comments. Mar 05, Nelie rated it it was amazing.

The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1

This is a classic because it is one of the first published books on psychology as a discipline and because it is full of James' ideas about how the mind works solely based on the method of introspection. I read this when I was in graduate school one summer the th anniversary of its being publishd and I am so grateful I was given that opportunity because its amazing the amount of insight in this volume as well as the second one.

He also believed that humans can never experience exactly the same thought or idea more than once. In addition to this, he viewed consciousness as completely continuous. James introduced a new theory of emotion later known as the James—Lange theory , which argued that an emotion is instead the consequence rather than the cause of the bodily experiences associated with its expression.

This theory has received criticism throughout the years since its introduction, but regardless, it still has its merits. Human habits are constantly formed to achieve certain results because of one's strong feelings of wanting or wishing for something. James emphasized the importance and power of human habit and proceeded to draw a conclusion.

James noted that the laws of habit formation are unbiased, habits are capable of causing either good or bad actions. And once either a good or bad habit has begun to be established, it is very difficult to change. Will is the final chapter of The Principles of Psychology , which was through James' own personal experiences in life.

There was one question that troubled James during his crisis, which was whether or not free will existed. The Principles of Psychology was a vastly influential textbook which summarized the field of psychology through the time of its publication. Psychology was beginning to gain popularity and acclaim in the United States at this time, and the compilation of this textbook only further solidified psychology's credibility as a science.

Wagner writes that most of the book's contents are now outdated, but that it still contains insights of interest. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

September Learn how and when to remove this template message. The principles of psychology. So it has come to pass that the instincts of animals are ransacked to throw light on our own; and that the reasoning faculty of bees and ants, the minds of savages, infants, madmen, idiots, and the deaf and blind, criminals, and eccentrics, are all invoked in support of this or that special theory about some part of our own mental life. Nothing is commoner than the remark that man differs from lower creatures by the almost total absence of instincts, and the assumption of their work in him by 'reason.

Man has a far greater variety of impulses than any lower animal; and any one of these impulses taken in itself, is as 'blind' as the lowest instinct can be; but owing to man's memory, power of reflection, and power of inference, they come each one to be felt by him after he has once yielded to them and experienced their results, in connection with a foresight of those results.

It is plain then that, no matter how well endowed an animal may originally be in the way of instincts, his resultant actions will be much modified if the instincts combine with experience, if in addition to impulses he have memories associations inferences and expectations on any considerable scale. Phenomenology of Consciousness and Sociology of the Life-world:


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