Psychology: Briefer Course / Edition 1

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Condensed and reworked from James's monumental Principles of Psychology, this classic text examines habit; stream of consciousness; self and the sense of personal identity; discrimination and association; the sense of time; memory; perception; imagination; reasoning; emotions, instincts; the will and voluntary acts; and much more. (This edition omits the outdated first nine chapters.)

"James's work written in 1892 illustrates to the modern mind how far we have come in returning to some of James's insights."--Studies in Formative Spirituality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book . . . was originally published in 1892 by Holt and republished by Harper in 1961. A durable classic in the field, it is developed on the structure of seventeen definitive chapters treating cryptic themes such as Habit, Stream of Consciousness, The Self, Attention, Conception, Discrimination, Association, Memory, Imagination, Perception, Reasoning, Emotion, Instinct, Will, and the like. . . . Today . . . it is still eminently readable scholarship." —Journal of Psychology and Christianity

"The re-publication of James's work . . . is a testimony to his monumental importance in the field of psychology. The work, a brief of his larger work, The Principles of Psychology, illustrates to the modern mind how far we have come in returning to some of James's insights." —Studies in Formative Spirituality

American psychologist and philosopher James (1842-1910) examines a wide range of topics such as the importance and physical basis of habit, stream of consciousness, self and the sense of personal identity, discrimination and association, the sense of time, memory, perception, imagination, reasoning, emotions compared to instincts, the will and voluntary acts, and other subjects. This brief version omits the long-outdated first nine chapters of his original two-volume treatise. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780268015572
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1985
  • Series: ND Series in Great Books Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

William James (1842-1910) was an American psychologist and philosopher and one of the most popular thinkers of the nineteenth century. He is the author of many works, including his monumental The Principles of Psychology (1890), Human Immortality (1898), and The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (1902).
Gordon W. Allport (1897-1967) was one of the first psychologists to study personality, and also researched human attitudes, prejudices, and religious beliefs. He is the author of Personality (1937), The Individual and His Religion (1950), and The Nature of Prejudice (1954).

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Table of Contents

    "Its importance, and its physical basis"
    Due to pathways formed in the centres
    Its practical uses
    Concatenated acts
    Necessity for guiding sensations in secondarily automatic performances
    Pedagogical maxims concerning the formation of habits
    Analytic order of our study
    Every state of mind forms part of a personal consciousness
    The same state of mind is never had twice
    Permanently recurring ideas are a fiction
    Every personal consciousness is continuous
    Substantive and transitive states
    Every object appears with a 'fringe' of relations
    The 'topic' of the thought
    Thought may be rational in any sort of imagery
    Consciousness is always especially interested in some one part of its object
    The Me and the I
    The material Me
    The social Me
    The spiritual Me
    "Self-seeking, bodily, social and spiritual"
    Rivalry of the Mes
    Their hierarchy
    Teleology of self-interest
    "The I, or 'pure ego'"
    Thoughts are not compounded of 'fused' sensations
    The 'soul' as a combining medium
    The sense of personal identity
    Explained by identity of function in successive passing thoughts
    Mutations of the self
    Insane delusions
    Alternating personalities
    Mediumships or possessions
    Who is the Thinker
    The narrowness of the field of consciousness
    Dispersed attention
    To how much can we attend at once?
    The varieties of attention
    "Voluntary attention, its momentary character"
    "To keep our attention, an object must change"
    Genius and attention
    Attention's physiological conditions
    The sense-organ must be adapted
    The idea of the object must be aroused
    Pedagogic remarks
    Attention and free-will
    Different states of mind can mean the same
    "Conceptions of abstract, of universal, and of problematic objects"
    The thought of 'the same' is not the same thought over again
    Discrimination and association; definition of discrimination
    Conditions which favor it
    The sensation of difference
    Differences inferred
    That analysis of compound objects
    "To be easily singled out, a quality should already be separately known"
    Dissociation by varying concomitants
    Practice improves discrimination
    To order of our ideas
    It is determined by cerebral laws
    The ultimate cause of association is habit
    The elementary law in association
    Indeterminates of its results
    Total recall
    "Partial recall, and the law of interest"
    "Frequency, recency, vividness, and emotional congruity tend to determine the object recalled"
    "Focalized recall, or 'association by similarity'"
    Voluntary trains of thought
    The solution of problems
    Similarity no elementary law; summary and conclusion
    The sensible present has duration
    We have no sense for absolutely empty time
    We measure duration by the events which succeed in it
    The feeling of past time is a present feeling
    Due to a constant cerebral condition
    What it is
    It involves both retention and recall
    Both elements explained by paths formed by habit in the brain
    "Two conditions of a good memory, persistence and numerousness of paths"
    One's native retentiveness is unchangeable
    Improvement of memory
    Pathological conditions
    What it is
    Imaginations differ from man to man; Galton's statistics of visual imagery
    Images of sounds
    Images of movement
    Images of touch
    Loss of images in aphasia
    The neural process in imagination
    Perception and sensation compared
    The perceptive state of mind is not a compound
    Perception is of definite things
    First type: inference of the more usual object
    Second type: inference of the object of which our mind is full
    Genius and old-fogyism
    The physiological process in perception
    The attribute of extensity belongs to all objects of sensation
    The construction of real space
    The processes which it involves:
      1) Subdivision
      2) Coalescence of different sensible data into one 'thing'
      3) Location in an environment
      4) Place in a series of positions
      5) Measurement
    "Objects which are signs, and objects which are realities"
    "The 'third dimension,' Berkeley's theory of distance"
    The part played by the intellect in space-perception
    What it is
    It involves the use of abstract characters
    What it is meant by an 'essential' character
    The 'essence' varies with the subjective interest
    "The two great points in reasoning, 'sagacity' and 'wisdom'"
    The help given by association by similarity
    The reasoning powers of brutes
    All consciousness is motor
    Three classes of movement to which it leads
    Emotions compared with instincts
    The varieties of emotion are innumerable
    The cause of their varieties
    "The feeling, in the coarser emotions, results from the bodily expression"
    This view explains the great variability of emotion
    A corollary verified
    An objection replied to
    The subtler emotions
    Description of fear
    Genesis of the emotional reactions
    Its definition
    Every instinct is an impulse
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