This edition of William James' masterwork, The Principles of Psychology, contains his original notes, illustrations, tables and charts which clarify the theory described and arguments made.
Appearing in 1890, The Principles of Psychology was a landmark text which established psychology as a serious scientific discipline. William James' compiled a convincing, lengthy and broad thesis, devoting detail and vigorous analysis in every chapter. The text's comprehensiveness and superb presentation played a pivotal role in bringing the science of mental health closer toward the scholarly mainstream.
The entire book is set out intuitively: there are two volumes, each of which has a certain number of chapters. While some chapters have sub-sections, James is careful not to make his textbook dry or convoluted in organisation. Each chapter introduces, discusses and concludes on a particular subject - whether it be the role of psychology as an academic and medical discipline, or the various functions of the human brain.
Well-read and familiar with the books of his forerunners, William James nevertheless bristles with originality. Although the reader might be tempted to set aside the book for fear of it being outdated, this attitude is unjustified: the ideas pioneered by James remain as intellectually fresh and thought provoking as they did at the conclusion of the 19th century. The one area of the book belonging firmly in the past - namely the neurological experiments upon animals - stands distinct from the remainder of the principle text.
Although the science of psychology has progressed enormously since William James published this book, The Principles of Psychology remains a supplementary text in many psychology courses in universities around the world. Concepts which James established, and his personal work on the spiritual element of human psychology, have and continue to inspire new books and theses by professionals and scholars in the field.
William James also summarizes and presents the ideas of other, earlier figures working in the field, some of whom he admires, others he considers with disdain. All however receive hearing and citation in The Principles of Psychology. The aim for retrospective richness, as well as breadth across every major subject important in the field, further sets this textbook apart.
Unlike other, abridged versions of The Principles of Psychology, this edition contains the entire text together with the many drawings and diagrams James appended in an effort to communicate better his notions. His notes are also present, and are organised and appended at the conclusion of each chapter for the reader to conveniently reference.