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The Principles of Psychology: Volume 2

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Volume 2 of the famous long course, complete and unabridged. Covers stream of thought, time perception, memory, and experimental methods. Total in set: 94 figures.


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Volume 2 of the famous long course, complete and unabridged. Covers stream of thought, time perception, memory, and experimental methods. Total in set: 94 figures.

30 review for The Principles of Psychology: Volume 2

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Wow, this was a hard slog. I'm reading this because it's on Will Durant's 100 Books for a Superior Education. It's a psychology textbook in two volumes from the 1890's. It was interesting to read something so contemporary to Darwin's Origin of Species, and hear this nineteenth-century voice coming out so strongly in support of evolution, debunking Lamarckianism at every chance. The sections where James is debunking another popular theory are probably the best for a modern reader interested in th Wow, this was a hard slog. I'm reading this because it's on Will Durant's 100 Books for a Superior Education. It's a psychology textbook in two volumes from the 1890's. It was interesting to read something so contemporary to Darwin's Origin of Species, and hear this nineteenth-century voice coming out so strongly in support of evolution, debunking Lamarckianism at every chance. The sections where James is debunking another popular theory are probably the best for a modern reader interested in the science and thinking of the day. I know that this is the first systematic treatment of psychology in all of literary history, but that being said, not much of either of these volumes covers what we would consider psychology today. All of Volume 1 and most of Volume 2 is dealing more with neural physiology, finally getting into how people think and a bit on disorders in chapter 24 (chapter 12 of the 2nd volume). Also, it's pretty challenging for a 21st century reader to wade through so much "middle-aged-white-man-ism" (even speaking as a middle-aged white man). James does such a fine job of debunking the faulty assumptions of his profession that it's hard to hear him talk about women and "the savage races" as biologically determined inferiors. His jabs at "Catholic mummery" made me giggle a bit. I have to say, I would really only recommend this book (and its companion volume) to readers as a historical curiosity.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Justin Boogaerdt

    The principles of psychology, Volume 2 by William James Contents. page. XVII. Sensation 1 XVIII. Imagination 44 XIX. The Perception of Things 76 XX. The Perception of Space 134 XXI. The Perception of Reality 283 XXII. Reasoning 323 XXIII. The Production of Movement 373 XXIV. Instinct 383 XXV. The Emotions 442 XXVI. Will 486 XXVII. Hypnotism 593 XXVIII. Necessary Truths and the Effects of Experience 617 To give a brief outline of the thoughts presented in the book of Sensation. A pure sensation is an abstraction; The principles of psychology, Volume 2 by William James Contents. page. XVII. Sensation 1 XVIII. Imagination 44 XIX. The Perception of Things 76 XX. The Perception of Space 134 XXI. The Perception of Reality 283 XXII. Reasoning 323 XXIII. The Production of Movement 373 XXIV. Instinct 383 XXV. The Emotions 442 XXVI. Will 486 XXVII. Hypnotism 593 XXVIII. Necessary Truths and the Effects of Experience 617 To give a brief outline of the thoughts presented in the book of Sensation. A pure sensation is an abstraction; and when we adults talk of our ´sensations´ we mean one of two things: either certain objects, namely simple qualities or attributes like hard, hot, pain; or else those of our thoughts in which acquaintance with these objects is least combined with knowledge about the relation of them to other things. As we can only think or talk about the relations of objects with which we have acquaintance already, we are forced to postulate a function in our thought whereby we first become aware of the bare immediate natures by which our several objects are distinguished. of Imagination. Sensations, once experienced, modify the nervous organism, so that copies of them arise again in the mind after the original outward stimulus is gone. No mental copy, however, can arise in the mind, of any kind of sensation which has never been directly excited from without. of The Perception of Things. The consciousness of particular material things present to sense is nowadays called perception. of The perception of Space. One sensation measures the ¨thing¨ present, and the ¨thing¨ then measures the other sensations. The general rule of our mind is to locate in each other all sensations which are associated in simaltaneous experience, and do not interfere with each other´s perception. Different impressions on the same sense-organ do interfere with each other´s perception, and connot well be attended to at once. Hence we do not locate them in each other´s spaces, but arrange them in a serial order of exteriority, each alongside of the rest, in a space larger than that which any one sensation brings. of The Perception of Reality. In its inner nature, belief, or the sense of reality, is a sort of feeling more allied to the emotions than to anything else. The way in which the ideas are combined is a part of the inner constitution of the thought´s object or content. The whole distinction of real and unreal, the whole psychology of belief, disbelief, and doubt, is thus grounded on two mental facts - first, that we are liable to think differently of the same; and second, that when we have done so, we can choose which way of thinking to adhere to and which to disregard. We give what seems to us a still higher degree of reality to whatever things we select and emphasize and turn to with a will. A rare experience, too, is likely to be judged more real than a permanent one, if it be more interesting and exciting. Such is the sight of Saturn through a telescope; such are the occasional insights and illuminations which upset our habitual ways of thought. The primitive impulse is to affirm immediately the reality of all that is conceived. of The Production of Movement. We might say that every possible feeling produces a movement, and that the movement is a movement of the entire organism, and of each and all its parts. of Instinct. Every instinct is an impulse. Man has a far greater variety of impulses than any lower animal; and any one of these impulses, taken in itself, is as ¨blind¨ as the lowest instinct can be; but, owing to man´s memory, power of reflection, and power of inference, they come each one to be felt by him, after he has once yielded to them and expierenced their results, in connection with a foresight of those results. In this condition an impulse acted out may be said to be acted out, in part at least, for the sake of its results. It is obvious that every instinctive act, in an animal with memory, must cease to be ¨blind¨ after being once repeated, and must be accompanied with foresight of its ¨end¨ just so far as that end may have fallen under the animal´s cognizance. An insect that lays her eggs in a place where she never sees them hatched must always do so ¨blindly¨; ´but a hen who has already hatched a brood can hardly be assumed to sit with perfect ¨blindness¨ on her second nest. Some expectation of consequences must in every case like this be aroused; and this expectation, according as it is that of something desired or of something disliked, must necessarily either re-enforce or inhibit the mere impulse. Reason may, however, make an inference which will excite the imagination so as to set loose the impulse the other way. Most instincts are implanted for the sake of giving rise to habits, and that, this purpose once accomplished, the instincts themselves, as such, have no raison d´etre in the psychological economy, and consequently fade away. of Will. Whether or no there be anything else in the mind at the moment when we consciously will a certain act, a mental conception made up of memory-images of these sensations, defining which special act it is, must be there. Now is there anything else in the mind when we will to do an act ? We must proceed in this chapter from the simpler to the more complicated cases. My first thesis accordingly is, that there need be nothing else, and that in perfectly simple voluntary acts there is nothing else, in the mind but the kinaesthetic idea, thus defined, of what the act is to be. The idea of the end, then, tends more and more to make itself all-sufficient. Or, at any rate, if the kinaesthetic ideas are called up at all, they are so swamped in the vivid kinaesthetic feelings by which they are immediately overtaken that we have no time to be aware of their seperate existence. The first point to start from in understanding voluntary action, and the possible occurrence of it with no fiat or express resolve, is the fact that conciousness is in its very nature impulse. Movement is the natural immediate effect of feeling, irrespective of what the quality of the feeling may be. It is so in reflex action, it is so in emotional expression, it is so in the voluntary life. In action as in reasoning, then, the great thing is the quest of the right conception. We have now brought things to a point at which we see that attention with effort is all that any case of volition implies. The essential achievement of the will, in short, when it is most ´voluntary, ´ is to attend to a difficult object and hold it fast before the mind. The so-doing is the fiat; and it is a mere physiological incident that when the object is thus attented to, immediate motor consequences should ensue. A resolve, whose contemplated motor consequences are not to ensue until some possibly far distant future condition shall have been fulfilled, involves all the psychic elements of a motor fiat except the word ´now;´ and it is the same with many of our purely theoretic beliefs. We saw in effect in the appropiate chapter, how in the last resort belief means only a peculiar sort of occupancy of the mind, and relation to the self felt in the thing believed; and we know in the case of many beliefs how canstant an effort of the attention is required to keep them in this situation and protect them from displacement by contradictory beliefs. Effort of attention is thus the essential phenomenom of will. To sum it all up in a word, the terminus of the psychological process in volition, the point to which the will is directly applied, is always an idea. There are at all times some ideas from which we shy away like frightened horses the moment we get a glimpse of their forbidding profile upon the threshold of our thought. The only resistance which our will can possibly experience is the resistance which such an idea offers to being attended to at all. To attend to it is the volitional act, and the only inward volitional act which we ever perform. of Necessary truths and the Effects of Experience. Now the first thing to make sure of is that when we talk of ´experience,´ we attach a definite meaning to the word. Experience means experience of something foreign supposed to impress us, whether spontaneously or in cosequence of our own exertions and acts. That any earlier term in the series stands to any later term in the same relation in which it stands to any intermediate term; in other words, that whatever has an attribute has all the attributes of that atrribute; or more briefly still, that whatever is of a kind is of that kind´s kind. What makes the assumption scientific and not merely poetic, what makes a Helmotz and his kin dicoverers, is that the things of Nature turn out to act as if they were of the kind assumed. A work of historical significance.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    ”Life is one long struggle between conclusions based on abstract ways of conceiving cases, and opposite conclusions prompted by our instinctive perception of them as individual facts. The logical stickler for justice always seems pedantic and mechanical to the man who goes by tact and the particular instance, and who usually makes a poor show at argument. Sometimes the abstract conceiver’s way is better, sometimes that of the man of instinct.” Pg. 674. James concludes the second volume of his mam ”Life is one long struggle between conclusions based on abstract ways of conceiving cases, and opposite conclusions prompted by our instinctive perception of them as individual facts. The logical stickler for justice always seems pedantic and mechanical to the man who goes by tact and the particular instance, and who usually makes a poor show at argument. Sometimes the abstract conceiver’s way is better, sometimes that of the man of instinct.” Pg. 674. James concludes the second volume of his mammoth The Principles of Psychology comfortable in his own curiosity. After spending hundreds of pages detailing his observations and thoughts on how the brain perceives and reasons and emotes, he leaves with more questions than answers. He is suspect of his own conclusions. Despite the apparent objectivity of his recorded observations, he is the first to wonder how his own process creates a perceived reality. The popular notion that ‘Science’ is forced on the mind ab extra, and that our interests have nothing to do with its constructions, is utterly absurd. The craving to believe that the things of the world belong to kinds which are related by inward rationality together, is the parent of Science as well as sentimental philosophy; and the original investigator always preserves a healthy sense of how plastic the materials are in his hands. Pg.667 After over a decade, as I near the conclusion in reading all the titles found in the Encyclopedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World, I clearly see why William James is listed as the penultimate volume (in the first edition). He is the embodiment of 19th century Classical education. He pulls from philosophy with as much ease as biology. He is empirical but refuses to be bound by empiricism. He observes the world without being deluded into thinking the world has any obligation to fit within his observations. His observations serve as foundations for his theories on brain functioning, instinct, and Darwinian natural selection. But, despite all his learning, and clear intellectual rigor, James is comfortably mystified by Consciousness and the order of things. For James, we are all pawns for our own psychology. It’s probably best if I let the last lines of this review be the last lines from his book: Our interests, our tendencies of attention, our motor impulses, the aesthetic, moral, and theoretic combinations we delight in, the extent of our power of apprehending schemes of relation, just like the elementary relations themselves, time, space, difference and similarity, and the elementary kinds of feeling, have all grown up in ways of which at present we can give no account. Even in the clearest parts of Psychology our insight is insignificant enough. And the more sincerely one seeks to trace the actual course of psychogenesis, the steps by which as a race we may have come by the peculiar mental attributes which we possess, the more clearly one perceives “the slowly gathering twilight close in utter night.”

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Sue

    This volume was worse than Vol 1, which was not easy to get through. Again, unless you're a PhD candidate in psychology, don't waste your time. This volume was almost 700 pages, tons of tiny footnotes and outdated information. We've come a long way in 100+ years in science and obviously, so much of the info is pedantic and out of touch. I could start off by saying that this book should be banned as the author is sexist in his views. I know times were different then, but he has a really low opini This volume was worse than Vol 1, which was not easy to get through. Again, unless you're a PhD candidate in psychology, don't waste your time. This volume was almost 700 pages, tons of tiny footnotes and outdated information. We've come a long way in 100+ years in science and obviously, so much of the info is pedantic and out of touch. I could start off by saying that this book should be banned as the author is sexist in his views. I know times were different then, but he has a really low opinion of females and it's disgusting. Moreover, he's way behind the times when it comes to neuroscience. I read to learn and educate myself and since I'm in healthcare, I read all sorts of science related books. This one does not even come close to getting on my book recommendation list. I'll stick to current authors and I suggest you do the same. I'd rate it a one star but because this guy is the founder of the movement, I'll be kind. Glad I can move on to something else.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nuri

    I'd been willing to revisit the second volume, particularly the discussion on will, and its relation to attention, and I was once more stunned by James' accuracy and prescience. Very often, James' writing is in alignment (and dialogue) with the prevailing approaches in recent neuroscience/neurophilosophy books. No small feat, as the authorities of James' time knew a lot less about brain physiology than a 1st year med student does today) It's worth acquiescing in James' authorial voice, lofty or n I'd been willing to revisit the second volume, particularly the discussion on will, and its relation to attention, and I was once more stunned by James' accuracy and prescience. Very often, James' writing is in alignment (and dialogue) with the prevailing approaches in recent neuroscience/neurophilosophy books. No small feat, as the authorities of James' time knew a lot less about brain physiology than a 1st year med student does today) It's worth acquiescing in James' authorial voice, lofty or no, as his most resonant passages are concentrated toward the end.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kris

  7. 5 out of 5

    Khosch

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chris Chiasson

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pacysong

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Ferlinger

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jason Tsukahara

  12. 4 out of 5

    Middlethought

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

  14. 5 out of 5

    Corne van Zyl

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dyaa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Wimmer

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pankaj Thakur

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniela Damian

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

  20. 4 out of 5

    James M Carmichael

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  22. 5 out of 5

    jt

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shankar Bhattarai

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jack Hamilton

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bluecatblues

  26. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

  27. 4 out of 5

    Richard Pfau

  28. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Khodaverdian

  29. 5 out of 5

    Penelope

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Scott

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