Psychology: Briefer Courseby William James
Pub. Date: 01/01/1985
Today's scholars know James's psychology primarily through his great Principles of Psychology (1890), but those who studied the subject at the turn of the century were more apt to learn his view through his Psychology: Briefer Course (1892). Indeed, professors at colleges and universities throughout the United States use this book--which their/i>/i>… See more details below
Today's scholars know James's psychology primarily through his great Principles of Psychology (1890), but those who studied the subject at the turn of the century were more apt to learn his view through his Psychology: Briefer Course (1892). Indeed, professors at colleges and universities throughout the United States use this book--which their students labeled "Jimmy" to distinguish it from the larger "James"--in their classes, and more than six times as many copies of the Briefer Course were sold by 1902 as were sets of Principles.
Despite its title, the Briefer Course is more than a simple condensation of the larger work. For example, to the material from Principles James added several chapters on the physiology of the senses that helped mesh his psychology with the other sciences of the period. The earlier chapter title "The Stream of Thought" is replaced here with "The Stream of Consciousness." Psychology: Briefer Course remains a useful and highly readable introduction to James's views on psychology and is an essential source for anyone interested in studying all of his psychological writings.
Table of ContentsCHAPTER 1
"Its importance, and its physical basis"
Due to pathways formed in the centres
Its practical uses
Necessity for guiding sensations in secondarily automatic performances
Pedagogical maxims concerning the formation of habits
THE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS
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
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
Mediumships or possessions
Who is the Thinker
The narrowness of the field of consciousness
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
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
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
"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 SENSE OF TIME
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
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 PERCEPTION OF SPACE
The attribute of extensity belongs to all objects of sensation
The construction of real space
The processes which it involves:
2) Coalescence of different sensible data into one 'thing'
3) Location in an environment
4) Place in a series of positions
"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
CONSCIOUSNESS AND MOVEMENT
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
Every instinct is an impulse
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