Theoretical Foundations of Psychology

Theoretical Foundations of Psychology

Theoretical Foundations of Psychology

Theoretical Foundations of Psychology

Excerpt

There are many books written on many aspects of psychology: books on general psychology, abnormal psychology, child psychology, tests, history of psychology, experimental psychology, methods and measurements in psychology. This book is designed to treat the fundamental ideas, concepts, theories and problems which are at the center of the chief divisions of the subject. Consideration of the theoretical foundations of an experimental science, as psychology is today, cannot be divorced from concrete facts or basic procedures. There is a delicate interplay of fact and theory in the best scientific work. Empiricism guided by concepts leads to fruitful theories. Worthwhile theories lead to concrete data which attest their validity and bring to light new facts. Hence the reader will find in this book on the theoretical foundations of psychology much discussion of facts, techniques, methods, and experimental data relevant to theoretical constructs. Since facts and theories must often be seen in the light of their historical antecedents to be understood and evaluated, the reader will also find numerous references to history and schools of psychology and important contributions of workers in various fields.

In planning this volume the editor had hoped to have the main fields of psychology each represented by at least one chapter, and to obtain fairly complete coverage of each field within each chapter. That this hope has not been fulfilled is not the fault of either the editor or the contributors. A subject as vast and variegated as present-day psychology cannot be entirely covered, even in its theoretical aspects, in a single volume. A number of important fields, for example, Individual Differences, had to be omitted entirely, and not all of the important concepts have been included in the treatments of the fields represented in this book. This is due not only to the limitations of space, but also to the interests of the editor and of the contributors. Each contributor was given carte blanche to organize his field as he wished, so long as it served the main purpose of the book. Selection was therefore inevitable and indeed desirable; who would wish to include every idea on a given topic? Figure-ground relationships are as important in delineating concepts and theories as they are in perceiving configurations. Although, therefore, complete coverage has . . .

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