SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: An Outline and Source Book

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: An Outline and Source Book

by EDWARD ALSWORTH ROSS

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Preface


IT requires some hardihood to put forth this, the pioneer treatise, in any language, professing to deal systematically with the subject of social psychology. In spite of infinite pains and thirteen years of experience in university teaching of the subject, I feel sure this book is strewn with errors. The ground is new, and among the hundreds of interpretations, inferences, and generalizations I have ventured on, no doubt scores will turn out to be wrong. Of course I would strike them out if I knew which they are. I would hold back the book could I hope by longer scrutiny to detect them. But I have brought social psychology as far as I can unaided, and nothing is to be gained by delay. The time has come to hand over the results of my reflection to my fellow-workers, in the hope of provoking discussions which will part the wheat from the chaff and set it to producing an hundred fold.

Nothing puts an edge on one's thinking like coming on new and interesting truth mixed, nevertheless, with some error. Therefore, if the young science is to advance rapidly, its friends must not be too fearful of being found wrong on a few points. Let each prospector — to change the metaphor — empty out his sack of specimens before his brother prospectors, even though he knows their practised glance will recognize some of his prized nuggets as mere pyrites. Then it will not take long to locate the rich veins.

So I offer this book with the wish that what in it is sound be promptly absorbed into the growth of the science, and the unsound be as promptly forgotten. Indeed, the swiftness of its disintegration will measure the rate of progress of the subject. If it is utterly superannuated in twenty years, that will be well; if, in ten years, it is a back number, that will be better. 'Perish the book, if only social psychology may go forward! Hence, I beg messieurs, the discreet critics, to lay on right heartily, remembering that in showing its errors they are triumphing with the author, not over him.

At the moment of launching this work, I pause to pay heartfelt homage to the genius of Gabriel Tarde. Solicitous as I have been to give him due credit in the text, no wealth of excerpt and citation can reveal the full measure of my indebtedness to that profound and original thinker. While my system has swung wide of his, I am not sure I should ever have wrought out a social psychology but for the initial stimulus and the two great construction lines -conventionality and custom- yielded by his incomparable Lois de l'imitation. If only this expression of my gratitude could reach him

—EDWARD ALSWORTH ROSS, MADISON, WISCONSIN


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Product Details

BN ID: 2940012507754
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 04/19/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 540 KB

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