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Harris, H.I. (1949). Readings in the History of Psychology: Compiled and edited by Wayne Dennis. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1948. 587 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:384-385.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:384-385

Readings in the History of Psychology: Compiled and edited by Wayne Dennis. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1948. 587 pp.

Review by:
Herbert I. Harris

In the light of modern developments in psychology and of its definition as the science of the mind in any of its aspects, the readings included in this volume are decidedly limited. One is forced to suspect that the editor has been strongly influenced by the outworn attitudes of behavior psychology so that for him the emotions are things about which William James might write (as a novelist) but which Freud, Jung, Adler and their followers have carried into areas entirely outside the scope of the science of psychology. Since the editor says that he referred his selected list of authors to 'fourteen psychologists … of wisdom and responsibility' the reviewer experiences a kind of Lewis Carroll sense of unreality in wondering what is going on in psychology today?

The domain of psychology considered as a science and a philosophy should, from an academic standpoint, be broad and catholic. In such a domain psychiatry should be regarded as one of the applied aspects of psychology. Yet so profound have the effects of contributions from psychiatry been on the development of psychological theory and philosophy that the wonder grows that any mention of them is omitted in a volume of this kind.

The selections made available are of decided historical interest and are difficult to come by in the busy round of one's daily activities. The older selections, from Aristotle through Berkeley, are in some cases classic both in style and content. The later, more 'scientific' papers show the influence of an increasing complexity of the field with a consequent need for narrowing the area under study. The reviewer gets the impression from reading the selections herein contained that the editor was to an appreciable degree motivated by the now somewhat time-worn credo of Claude Bernard.

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