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Psychology: The Briefer Course Paperback – May 24, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book . . . was originally published in 1892 by Holt and republished by Harper in 1961. A durable classic in the field, it is developed on the structure of seventeen definitive chapters treating cryptic themes such as Habit, Stream of Consciousness, The Self, Attention, Conception, Discrimination, Association, Memory, Imagination, Perception, Reasoning, Emotion, Instinct, Will, and the like. . . . Today . . . it is still eminently readable scholarship."
(Journal of Psychology and Christianity)

"The re-publication of James's work . . . is a testimony to his monumental importance in the field of psychology. The work, a brief of his larger work, The Principles of Psychology, illustrates to the modern mind how far we have come in returning to some of James's insights."
(Studies in Formative Spirituality) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

William James was the son of the philosopher Henry James and brother of the novelist Henry James.

Donald James is the author of the bestselling novels, "Monstrum, "The Fortune Teller "and The Fall of the Russian Empire. He lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (May 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486416046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486416045
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend Psychology: the briefer course to anyone who might be interested in the foundations of modern psychology. The work is very accessible, the style very straightforward, and the content far from dry or textbookish. The experience is definitely enhanced if one is familiar with some of the basic tenets of early modern thinkers (especially those like Kant and Hegel), but this knowledge is in no way required to enjoy James. He is treating psychology as a natural science, but it is important to understand that beyond this book James is a broad-ranging thinker, and so his Psychology dips its toes in many other fields of philosophy, and some fields not at all treated by philosophers (as, for example, the section at the end of Chapter 3 where he describes his experiences with spiritual mediums).

The book itself is printed well enough, and contains no extraneous material (introductory essays from some scholar, intrusive footnotes, chapter analyses, etc.), just the way I like it.
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Format: Paperback
Psychology: The briefer course by William James, Henry Holt, 1892; Harper and Row, 1961; Dover, 2001, 368 ff.

This is a simpler, less detailed version of William James' Principles of Psychology that was published in two volumes. William James was one of the founders of the subject and was both psychologist and philosopher. In this book he covers many of the classic topics that are of interest to both psychologists and lay people with his perceptive views presented in an accessible style that makes his writing easy to read for the non-specialist.

Thus he writes about habit, the stream of consciousness, the self, (mental) conception, association, memory, emotion, will, and other issues in an original and enlightening way. His views on habit underlie Rupert Sheldrake's principle of the morphic field in the way that events in the material world become easier when they are repeated. His thoughts on will or voluntary attention provided the inspiration for Jeffrey Schwartz and Henry Stapp's view of the mechanism of mind - that it was the act of volition that constituted free will, to focus on just one of the ripples in the stream of consciousness.

James uses the life of a bird as a metaphor for the human stream of consciousness, comprising flights and perchings. Only the `perchings' or substantive states of mind as James calls them contribute to knowledge and memory. He points out that our recognition of our `self' depends upon the success of our social relationships with others, particularly the esteem with which we are held in the minds of loved ones. There are some interesting reflections on the mental continuity of the self, despite physical changes to the body.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like most of James's books, Psychology: The Briefer Course has been released by several publishers and I have most of them. But I prefer the Dover edition because the book does not have one of those prefaces that robs the reader of discovering James for him or herself and because this edition gives you more bang for the buck.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Format issues: In case you are purchasing this book thinking it is exactly like the 1892 version, be aware that it is missing the first 9 chapters. I did not expect to be missing chapters from the original book, very disappointed. Also, for anyone with visual challenges, the font in this book is very old-fashioned. The font itself looks bold and the letters blur together.

A+ for the William James content, by the way. You just gotta love the guy.
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