An Intellectual History of Psychology, already a classic in its field, is now available in a concise new third edition. It presents psychological ideas as part of a greater web of thinking throughout history about the essentials of human nature, interwoven with ideas from philosophy, science, religion, art, literature, and politics.
Daniel N. Robinson demonstrates that from the dawn of rigorous and self-critical inquiry in ancient Greece, reflections about human nature have been inextricably linked to the cultures from which they arose, and each definable historical age has added its own character and tone to this long tradition. An Intellectual History of Psychology not only explores the most significant ideas about human nature from ancient to modern times, but also examines the broader social and scientific contexts in which these concepts were articulated and defended. Robinson treats each epoch, whether ancient Greece or Renaissance Florence or Enlightenment France, in its own terms, revealing the problems that dominated the age and engaged the energies of leading thinkers.
Robinson also explores the abiding tension between humanistic and scientific perspectives, assessing the most convincing positions on each side of the debate. Invaluable as a text for students and as a stimulating and insightful overview for scholars and practicing psychologists, this volume can be read either as a history of psychology in both its philosophical and aspiring scientific periods or as a concise history of Western philosophy’s concepts of human nature.
Twenty years in the making, including two prior editions, this work conveys a deep, calm mastery of the subject. Philosopher and psychologist Robinson (Toward a Science of Human Nature, Columbia Univ. Pr., 1982) guides the reader from the pre-Socratics to Skinner, passing through Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Luther, Kant, Spinoza, Nietzsche, and many others, including Weyer, Mesmer, and Charcot. Along the way, Robinson convinces the reader that "the view of reason and appetite as opposing forces is as old as the Homeric epics and as current as psychoanalytic theory." He also raises questions about the darkness of the "Dark" ages and the brightness of the Renaissance. Convinced that "psychology is the history of ideas," Robinson treats every idea and every sentence with critical respect, making this a standard-setting book that is also a pleasure to read.E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, D.C.