Psychology: General Introduction

Psychology: General Introduction

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Psychology: General Introduction

Psychology: General Introduction

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Excerpt

There is very general agreement as to the main topics which must be treated in a text-book on psychology. There is, however, no accepted method of approaching these topics, and, as a result, questions of emphasis and proportion are always matters of individual judgment. It is, accordingly, not out of place for one to attempt in his preface to anticipate the criticism of those who take up the book, by offering a general statement of the principles which have guided him in his particular form of treatment. This book aims to develop a functional view of mental life. Indeed, I am quite unable to accept the contentions, or sympathize with the views of the defenders of a structural or purely analytical psychology. In the second place, I have aimed to adopt the genetic method of treatment. It may be well to remark that the term genetic is used here in its broad sense to cover all that relates to general evolution or individual development. In the third place, I have attempted to give to the physiological conditions of mental life a more conspicuous place than has been given by recent writers of general text-books on psychology. In doing this I have aimed to so coördinate the material as to escape the criticism of producing a loose mixture of physiology and introspective description. In the fourth place, I have aimed to make as clear as possible the significance of ideation as a unique and final stage of evolution. The continuity running through the evolution of the sensory and motor functions in all grades of animal life is not, I believe, the most significant fact for psychology. The clear recognition of this continuity which the student reaches through studies of sensation and habit, and even perception, is the . . .

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