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[I]f the diffusion of American wealth is accentuated, can it be denied that the extremes are greater here than anywhere else, -that the army of the unemployed is swelling while the billion-dollar trusts are formed, that the richest men are richer than any European, while the slums of New York show a misery that is unknown in Berlin?-from "American Democracy"As a psychologist and an innovator of experimental psychology, Hugo M nsterberg was a powerful influence on thinking in both the medical and social arenas at the turn of the 20th century, developing practical applications of psychology to industry, medicine, education, the arts, and criminal investigation. Here, though, in this 1901 work, M nsterberg turns his scientific eye on American culture at large, offering the perspective of an educated and observant immigrant on the New World experience in the Gilded Age.From the delusions of American democracy to the condition of women, M nsterberg's commentary tells us much not just about the United States in the pre-World War I period, but also about the mind of a man whose work continues to impact today's philosophy of the mind and how it shapes human behavior.Also available from Cosimo Classics: M nsterberg's Psychology and Social Sanity, The Eternal Life, The War and America, and PsychotherapyOF INTEREST TO: readers of American history, students of cultural psychologyGerman-American psychologist and philosopher HUGO M NSTERBERG (1863-1916) was professor of psychology at Harvard University from 1892 until his death. He was elected president of the American Psychological Association in 1898.
(From the [1915, c1914] preface) It can hardly be claimed that a new textbook of psychology is needed because there is lack of old ones. On the contrary, we have a bewildering variety, and America has contributed a large and brilliant share. Yet the plan and aim of the present book are very different from all of them. One difference is indicated even by its sub-title; it includes the applied psychology as well as the general. Hitherto the textbooks have been confined to the theoretical study. The time seems ripe for bringing the psychological work into full contact with the practical efforts of civilization. The application of psychological studies to education and law, to industry and commerce, to health and hygiene, to art and science, deserves its place in the psychological curriculum. Thus the last third of this book may be a supplement to any other textbook. But the book adds to the usual material still another essential part. The psychology of our textbooks is individual psychology; this volume also includes the social psychology. Finally, the traditional psychology is confined to descriptions and explanations. Very justly, such an explanatory account of mental life omits an entirely different aspect, its inner meaning. But this meaning of the acts of our mind offers, after all, problems of its own. They must be solved; we cannot simply ignore them. This book, therefore, traces them in a special part, called Purposive Psychology. Our causal psychology is and must be a psychology without a soul; the purposive psychology culminates in the understanding of the soul and its freedom. While the addition of an applied, a social and a purposive part makes the material of this book very different from the others, its method, too, deviates in many respects from the customary procedure. The book emphasizes the principles, both the biological-physiological and the philosophical. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
"Philosophy is a movement of thought which demands the thoroughness of the expert, and which can be followed only with concentrated attention. Everything depends upon inner consistency, and only a closely knit system can secure it. In all times only such systems have marked the great periods of philosophical insight. This must not be misunderstood. First it does not mean that the philosophical understanding of the world should lead us away from the reality of life and should rely on metaphysical speculations. On the contrary, this world of our real life is the material of our philosophical effort. In the following volume the last chapter alone faces metaphysical problems. The discussion on truth and beauty, on happiness and love, on science and art, on development and progress, on industry and law, on morality and religion, fills the bulk of the book and is not at all metaphysical. It aims to grasp our real experience in its original fullness and in its true significance. Every line of those chapters might be accepted even by those who see other ways of solving the metaphysical problem. Yet while the formulae of philosophical calculation ought not even to tempt the reader who simply wants to sip the wisdom of the world, no philosophy will really lead forward which is not after all the expression of the deepest striving of its time. The sincere conviction that this holds true for the idealistic philosophy of "The eternal values," from the start gave the real aim and meaning to this work. Throughout our life a new wave is rising, a new seeking and a new longing, a new feeling and a new certainty: may this book now help in the New World too to bring these young and yet so old ideals to clear self-consciousness and through it to inner strength and power!"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved).
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