From Soul to Mind

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The Emergence of Psychology, from Erasmus Darwin to William James

Edward S. Reed

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Early in the nineteenth century, psychology was considered a science of the soul; by the end of the century, it had abandoned the soul to become a science of the mind, says Edward Reed. In this lively and original account of psychology's formative years, Reed tells the story of the failures and successes of the attempts of nineteenth-century thinkers and practitioners—including philosophers, theologians, medical workers, mesmerists, and even poets—to make psychology into a science. He also situates psychological developments within the social, religious, and literary contexts of the times, taking into account the effects of such significant historical changes as rising nationalism, industrialization, urbanization, and changes in communication.

From Soul to Mind introduces a cast that includes not only well-known psychologists and philosophers (Kant, Reid, Darwin, James) but also figures important in their time who are largely forgotten today (R. H. Lotze in Germany, G. H. Lewes in Britain) and literary notables (Mary Shelley, E. T. A. Hoffman, Edgar Allan Poe). Countering the widespread belief that psychology is the offspring of philosophy, Reed contends that modern philosophy arose when academic philosophers sought to distinguish themselves from psychologists. He places the histories of philosophy and psychology within a broad intellectual and social framework and offers a new perspective on the roots of the New Psychology.

Edward S. Reed is associate professor of psychology at Franklin and Marshall College. He is the author of The Necessity of Experience and James J. Gibson and the Psychology of Perception, both published by Yale University Press.

"Reed is a person who thinks in an uncluttered way as well as writes so. His history is a splendid achievement—beautifully crafted, sensibly and wisely thought through."—William Kessen

"A profession of faith in the human appetite for primary experience and for the satisfactions and dignity that come only with embodied knowledge."—Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Examiner Book Review

"Intellectually challenging…informative and rewarding."—Kirkus Reviews

"Trailblazing history….After presenting a brilliant kaleidoscope of 18th- and 19th-century writings, Reed concludes that philosophy broke away from psychology, not the reverse, and that psychology is the poorer for it. . . . Reed uncovers and makes accessible an intellectual treasure-trove that will change the way we think about the last 250 years. Essential for most libraries."—Library Journal

"Reed's grasp of his period is encyclopedic. . . . It is a joy to read, and I enjoyed it enormously."—Andy Hamilton, International Journal of Philosophical Studies

ISBN: 9780300075816
Publication Date: October 11, 1998
302 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4