Principles of Systematic Psychology

Principles of Systematic Psychology

Principles of Systematic Psychology

Principles of Systematic Psychology

Excerpt

It is almost literally true that no two man of distinction have been agreed concerning the problems, the methods, the subject matter, or the personal and social worth of what might otherwise be the science of psychology. This is a curious and distressing circumstance, for the laboratory study of some of the events that should properly be called mental is well over three generations old,--as measured by the productive lives of the experimenters,--and several thousand years old,--as measured by a practical knowledge of the allowances that must be made for the nature of human nature. But in spite of the attention given to it, a science of human nature is yet to be achieved.

Men say that psychology is facing in the right direction, and that it is not facing in the right direction; that its methods are adequate to its subject matter, and that its methods are not adequate to its subject matter; that its subject matter should be states of consciousness, the intrinsic powers of a mind, the course and organization of mental processes, the conditions of experience, or the unique functions of an intact organism, and that its subject matter should be reflexes, responses to stimuli, reactions, behavioral acts, or dynamically organized modes of adjustment; that its procedure should be agenetic, analytical, and molecular; that its procedure should be configural, functional, and molar; that it should be affiliated with biology or is, indeed, a branch of biological science; that it should not be affiliated with biology, because its nearest relatives are the novel, the biography, the humanities, and the normative disciplines; that it should be strictly positive, having no traffic with philosophy and eschewing all values; that its natural habitat is among the systems of moral, social, and religious philosophy; that it should treat of the composition and structure of a unique phenomenal order known as direct experience, and which is equal to the whole of reality; that it should treat of acts, powers, faculties, or functions exercised in connection either with phenomenal reality or with physical reality; that it should begin its work with abnormal types of adjustment, or with primitive drives and urges, and the lusts of small children, or with the behavior of the lower animals; that its obvious point of departure is introspective evidence furnished by the average, mature, and normal . . .

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