The Routledge Guidebook to James’s Principles of Psychology

David E Leary

January 29, 2018 by Routledge
Reference - 364 Pages
ISBN 9781138887534 - CAT# Y180622
Series: The Routledge Guides to the Great Books

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The Principles is an often cited but little read work, in large part because the work was published in two volumes of 1200 pages. When approached from a philosophical as well as psychological perspective, the work still speaks directly to the major questions about the nature of psychology, mind, emotion, and all the other canonical topics covered by James. This guidebook provides a comprehensive coverage of the work, making this monumental text accessible for students and faculty

Contemporary psychology is still trying to answer many of the fundamental issues James wrote about for example what is the mind? Is the mind the same as the "brain"? What is the self? How does the self relate to the body and to other selves? Close critical analysis allows students to engage with the Principles not only in its historical context but the guidebook also explores the relevance of this great book to the contemporary world

William James is widely acknowledged to have been one of the major forces behind the institution of psychological science and the development of philosophical pragmatism in the United State making this guidebook essential reading for those studying the History of American Philosophy and the History of Psychology


The Routledge Guidebook to James’s Principles of Psychology is an engaging and accessible introduction to a monumental text that has influenced the development of both psychological science and philosophical pragmatism in important and lasting ways. Written for readers approaching William James’s classic work for the first time as well as for those without knowledge of its entire scope, this guidebook not only places this work within its historical context, it provides clear explications of its intertwined aspects and arguments, and examines its relevance within today’s psychology and philosophy.

Offering a close reading of this text, The Routledge Guidebook to James’s Principles of Psychology is divided into three main parts:

• Background

• Principles

• Elaborations.

It also includes two useful appendices that outline the sources of James’s various chapters and indicate the parallel coverages of two later texts written by James, an abbreviated version of his Principles and a psychological primer for teachers. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this influential work.


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