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The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1 Paperback – June 1, 1950


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The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1 + Principles of Psychology, Vol. 2 + William James : Writings 1902-1910 : The Varieties of Religious Experience / Pragmatism / A Pluralistic Universe / The Meaning of Truth / Some Problems of Philosophy / Essays (Library of America)
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Biology, Psychology, and Medicine
  • Paperback: 696 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (June 1, 1950)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486203816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486203812
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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127 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Joseph C. Hager, Ph.D. on January 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Why would anyone want to read a book about psychology that was first published 113 years
ago? One answer is the rationale for reading any psychology book: that it
provides insights into psychological issues not available elsewhere. Although
many psychologists of the late 19th and early 20th century probably started their career by
reading this book, it is not appropriate today as an introduction to psychology. Too
many of James's viewpoints are antiquated, and his facts, outdated or incorrect. Neither
is it the book to read if you are looking for contemporary psychological views
or a compilation of psychological knowledge. Recent textbooks are better for these purposes.
Yet, the word most frequently used to describe James's Principles of Psychology
is probably 'monumental' and rightly so because not only is this a lengthy work (~1400pgs),
but it also is the culmination of a long line of philosophical thinking about the Soul,
Self, Mind, Matter, and related topics that began with the pre-Socratic Greeks
and continued through the 19th century, when positivist philosophers and experimentalists
began to explore psychologically relevant philosophical questions in more concrete terms,
invoking a scientific method and rejecting metaphysics. At the end of the 19th century, a
seeming riot of discussion about the meaning of life, the nature of consciousness, mind,
ego, evolution, and related subjects dominated the scientific and popular culture.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By J.W.K on April 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
James has been rightly credited as the father of Psychology, and this was the work that launched psychology into a field of its own. When it came out some 100 years ago, The Principles was criticized as "un-systematic." James would have taken this as a compliment. It is exactly because this book is not an elaborately contrived system that it remains fresh as a morning flower. Full of details and insight, it is perhaps the most epic and insightful psychological work every produced. That said, The Principles doesn't quite stay within the bounds of psychology. As you will see from the citations (which are voluminous), James was also well read in the humanities, from abstruse philosophy to literary fiction. But then, James was living in a time when Philosophy and Psychology were not distinct disciplines. Not a problem if you enjoy philosophizing. For its breadth, scope and penetrating insights, this book might never grow stale.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wiest on June 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a beautiful classic. James is unafraid to tackle the perplexing questions about consciousness. He is also unencumbered by simplistic theoretical assumptions or restrictive definitions of science, but he holds to a high standard of clarity and steers for the truth.
This book is a brilliant catalogue of the phenomena that must be explained by the various brain and psychological sciences. While the behaviorist movement that came after James led to important advances in scientific method, in terms of objectively establishing empirical results, it also led to a massive denial of mental phenomena that cannot at present be explained purely in mechanical or behaviorial terms. Because subsequent generations have denied the phenomena, or written them off as "illusions" or "folk psychology," as is still common today, this book is a precious trove of unbiased insights about the mind.
I would thus agree with the other reviewers that this is a great book. However, while they seem to claim James for functionalism, (which is I think the dominant framework for understanding mind in contemporary cognitive science--holding that implementing certain functions such as self-representation and planning, are what makes a system conscious, no matter what it's made out of) I suggest that much of James' critique of what he calls the "mind-stuff theory" and the "associationists" is equally devastating to what is now called functionalism. For example, people still talk about patterns of brain actvity as if they had objective, ontological reality. But we can completely describe the brain at the level of molecules without reference to patterns, so the pattern is not an intrinsic, necessary way of interpreting the activity of the physical brain system.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Citris1 on July 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Principles of Psychology is one of my all-time favorite books. The depth and breadth of James's thinking are phenomenal. We have had over a hundred years to check out his ideas and he may not have been right about everything but this work is important and groundbreaking.
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By Julie A. Jepma on May 18, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I requested NEW volumes of this, but received one very used. (Yellow pages), Can I return it for another?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nuno Alão on October 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This master work is essential to anyone who's studying psychology or neurology areas !
In my searches about vision this is essential too.
Very well written and very easy to understanding, even for a foreigner english reader.
Excellent organization, where the index explains every chapter and is very easy to find matters.
Vol I and vol II are inseparable.
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