Story of the Mind

Story of the Mind
Catalog # SKU1537
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.20 lbs
Author Name James Mark Baldwin


Story of the Mind

James Mark Baldwin

Psychology is the science of the mind. It aims to find out all about the mind--the whole story--just as the other sciences aim to find out all about the subjects of which they treat--astronomy, of the stars; geology, of the earth; physiology, of the body. And when we wish to trace out the story of the mind, as psychology has done it, we find that there are certain general truths with which we should first acquaint ourselves; truths which the science has been a very long time finding out, but which we can now realize without a great deal of explanation.

These general truths, we may say, are preliminary to the story itself; they deal rather with the need of defining, first of all, the subject or topic of which the story is to be told.

Of all the sources now indicated from which the psychologist may draw, that of so-called Introspective Psychology--the actual reports of what we find going on in our minds from time to time--is the most important. This is true for two great reasons, which make Psychology different from all the other sciences. The first claim which the introspective method has upon us arises from the fact that it is only by it that we can examine the mind directly, and get its events in their purity. Each of us knows himself better than he knows any one else. So this department, in which we deal each with his own consciousness at first hand, is more reliable, if free from error, than any of those spheres in which we examine other persons, so long as we are dealing with the psychology of the individual.

The second reason that this method of procedure is most important is found in the fact that all the other departments of psychology--and with them all the other sciences--have to use introspection, after all, to make sure of the results which they get by other methods. For example, the natural scientist, the botanist, let us say, and the physical scientist, the electrician, say, can not observe the plants or the electric sparks without really using his introspection upon what is before him. The light from the plant has to go into his brain and leave a certain effect in his mind, and then he has to use introspection to report what he sees. The astronomer who has bad eyes can not observe the stars well or discover the facts about them, because his introspection in reporting what he sees proceeds on the imperfect and distorted images coming in from his defective eyesight. So a man given to exaggeration, who is not able to report truthfully what he remembers, can not be a good botanist, since this defect in introspection will render his observation of the plants unreliable.

In practice the introspective method has been most important, and the development of psychology has been up to very recently mainly due to its use. As a consequence, there are many general principles of mental action and many laws of mental growth already discovered which should in the first instance engage our attention. They constitute the main framework of the building; and we should master them well before we go on to find the various applications which they have in the other departments of the subject.

The greater results of "Introspective" or, as it is very often called, "General" psychology may be summed up in a few leading principles, which sound more or less abstract and difficult, but which will have many concrete illustrations in the subsequent chapters. The facts of experience, the actual events which we find taking place in our minds, fall naturally into certain great divisions. These are very easily distinguished from one another.

The first distinction is covered by the popularly recognised difference between "thought and conduct," or "knowledge and life." On the one hand, the mind is looked at as receiving, taking in, learning; and on the other hand, as acting, willing, doing this or that. Another great distinction contrasts a third mental condition, "feeling," with both of the other two. We say a man has knowledge, but little feeling, head but no heart; or that he knows and feels the right but does not live up to it.

Softcover, 5.25 x 8.25", 255+ pages
Perfect-Bound - Illustrated


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