The Principles of Psychology, Volume 1

Front Cover
Courier Corporation, Jun 1, 1950 - Psychology - 689 pages
4 Reviews
This is the first inexpensive edition of the complete Long Course in Principles of Psychology, one of the great classics of modern Western literature and science and the source of the ripest thoughts of America’s most important philosopher. 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. In its course it takes into account the work of Berkeley, Binet, Bradley, Darwin, Descartes, Fechner, Galton, Green, Helmholtz, Herbart, Hume, Janet, Kant, Lange, Lotze, Locke, Mill, Royce, Schopenhauer, Spinoza, Wundt, and scores of others. It examines contrasting interpretations of mental phenomena, treating introspective analysis, philosophical interpretations, and experimental research.
It remains unsurpassed today as a brilliantly written survey of William James’ timeless view of psychology.

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About the author (1950)

William James, oldest of five children (including Henry James and Alice James) in the extraordinary James family, was born in New York City on January 11, 1842. He has had a far-reaching influence on writers and thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Broadly educated by private tutors and through European travel, James initially studied painting. During the Civil War, however, he turned to medicine and physiology, attended Harvard medical school, and became interested in the workings of the mind. His text, The Principles of Psychology (1890), presents psychology as a science rather than a philosophy and emphasizes the connection between the mind and the body. James believed in free will and the power of the mind to affect events and determine the future. In The Will to Believe (1897) and The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), he explores metaphysical concepts and mystical experiences. He saw truth not as absolute but as relative, depending on the given situation and the forces at work in it. He believed that the universe was not static and orderly but ever-changing and chaotic. His most important work, Pragmatism (1907), examines the practical consequences of behavior and rejects the idealist philosophy of the transcendentalists. This philosophy seems to reinforce the tenets of social Darwinism and the idea of financial success as the justification of the means in a materialistic society; nevertheless, James strove to demonstrate the practical value of ethical behavior. Overall, James's lifelong concern with what he called the "stream of thought" or "stream of consciousness" changed the way writers conceptualize characters and present the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. He died due to heart failure on August 26, 1910.