Save Big On Open-Box & Used Products: Buy "The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1” from Amazon Open-Box & Used and save 43% off the $22.95 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all offers from Amazon Open-Box & Used.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1 Paperback – June 1, 1950
Make your day Incredibly Easy
Explore these featured medical titles. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
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. Similarly, having the idea of A and the idea of B does not imply having the idea of A+B. James makes this basic point in multiple ways in his book. It seems more or less equivalent to the point articulated in recent times by John Searle, that "any physical process you might find is computational only relative to some interpretation," ie some observer (in "The Mystery of Consciousness" p.16). When expressed in Searle's modern language, it is more clear why the distinction between real objective properties of a system and its extrinsic observer-dependent properties, is a big problem for contemporary functionalism.
In any case, I highly recommend this book to any serious student of psychology. It's not for boneing up for psych exams or grant proposals, but for patiently ruminating on and savoring.
The work is of imposing size, but James covers such a wide field, so thoroughly and so engagingly, that to my own surprise I read both volumes cover to cover, back to back. The two volumes comprise 28 chapters, including "The Functions of the Brain", "Habit", "The Stream of Thought", "Attention", "Association", "Memory", "Imagination", "The Perception of Reality", "Reasoning", and "Will"--to name just a few that I found the most fascinating.
James's reasoning is sharp and subtle, his writing clear and vigorous. The qualities of his own mind, which come through in the prose, are astonishing: he is both skeptical and open-minded, deeply versed in the existing literature, and an original and fearless thinker. He must have been a fantastic prof.
I was a little afraid that the age of the book would make it antique, with fusty 19th-century notions that have long since been disproved. Not a bit! With few exceptions, the material is as fresh and relevant today as it was in 1890. Even the material on brain physiology and function, an area where the 20th century can claim to have made some progress, was sharp, perceptive, and interesting.
The advent of Freud, Pavlov, and others in the 20th century seemed to push certain theoretical ideas about the mind to the forefront, putting other, older ideas in the shade. My prejudice was that they had made 19th-century psychology irrelevant. I was wrong. There were many able minds studying psychology long before Freud, and their findings and views are well worth knowing. Among other things, James's book is a treasure-trove of psychological thinking up to the time of his writing, including many extracts by other researchers, both those he admires and those he is critical or dismissive of.
James, of course, was not merely a psychologist; he was also a philosopher. If I had to give a single reason why I think this book is excellent, it would be that James fearlessly tackles questions lying at the boundary of what today are seen as distinct disciplines. Here you'll find penetrating, persuasive insights into the nature of reasoning, logic, and the will, as well as the origin of aesthetic and moral ideas. James is as thoroughly versed in the works and ideas of Kant, Hume, Berkeley, Locke, and Mill as he is in those of his fellow psychologists. He confronts the thinking of the greatest minds with complete confidence, using his laserlike intellect to discover their obscurities and contradictions. He is their peer.
At the same time, James is humane and folksy in his style, often making references to his own experience, domestic life, and the little experiments he often performed on himself or his students. He writes with candor, humanity, and honesty. Time and again he comes to conclusions or makes observations that cut to the core of human experience altogether.
Technically this is a textbook surveying psychology, probably for a first-year introductory course. It bears almost no resemblance to the dry, cautious tomes that usually fill that role. It is an impassioned work by a learned, deep, and original mind explaining his own conclusions on this vast and elusive topic, based on long study, experiment, and careful thought. It is one of a kind. If you're interested in the human mind, this book is for you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In my searches about vision this is essential too.Read more