The Elements of Scientific Psychology

By Knight Dunlap | Go to book overview

PREFACE

In introducing the student to the modern science of psychology, it is necessary to depart definitely from traditional formulae and traditional conceptions in so far as these formulae and conceptions no longer represent the facts with which psychology has to deal. The psychology of today is a science of the conscious responses of the organism, and as such is called upon to furnish materials applicable to the problems of physical science, education, industry and the arts; and to social problems. Psychology is called upon for these contributions, and is responding: but it is only the modern form of psychology which can contribute effectively. No one thinks today of asking aid in any problem of real life from the psychology, however named, which deals with a peculiar world of psychic objects, by the introspective method, or by any of its later substitutes. One turns instead to the scientific psychology whose subject matter is the world of real objects and real activities, and whose methods are those of all science. It is impossible to put this new wine in the old bottles of phrase and viewpoint which sufficed for its predecessor.

It is necessary, on the other hand, to conserve a large part of the psychological results of the past centuries. Scientific psychology is no new invention, but is a legitimate development from the older psychology which it cannot avoid supplanting, and as such it embodies the achievements of the psychologists from Aristotle to the present generation. With "new psychologies" and with revolts against the essential facts of psychology, scientific psychology has no affiliation, although it represents real progress, and although its postulates in regard to consciousness differ essentially from those of the past.

This book, being designed for the specific purpose of introducing the student to the elements of psychology, and giving him a firm ground on which to build, deals with the general problems of psychology only. The special topics of learning; of child, animal, social and abnormal psychology; of sleep and dreams; and

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