"The object of the following Work differs from that of all other works on popular science in its attempt to meet the wants of the Student, while meeting those of the general reader, who is supposed to be wholly unacquainted with anatomy and physiology"--Preface.
"This volume is restricted to the group of material conditions which constitute the organism in relation to the physical world--a group which furnishes the data for one half of the psychologist's quest; the other half being furnished by historical and social conditions. The Human Mind, so far as it is accessible to scientific inquiry, has a twofold root, man being not only an animal organism but an unit in the social organism; and hence the complete theory of its functions and faculties must be sought in this twofold direction. One leading object of the following pages has been everywhere to substitute the biological point of view for the metaphysical and mechanical points of view which too often obstruct research--the one finding its expression in spiritualist theories, the other in materialist theories; both disregarding the plain principle that the first requisite in a theory of biological phenomena must be to view them in the light of biological conditions. Another object has been to furnish the reader uninstructed in physiology with such a general outline of the structure and functions of the organism, and such details respecting the sentient mechanism, as may awaken an interest in the study, and enable him to understand the application of Physiology to Psychology. The volume contains four essays. The first, on the Nature of Life, deals with the specialty of organic phenomena, as distinguished from the inorganic. The second essay is on the Nervous Mechanism, setting forth what is known and what is inferred respecting the structure and properties of that all-important system. The third essay treats of Animal Automatism. Here the constant insistence on the biological point of view, while it causes a rejection of the mechanical theory, admits the fullest recognition of all the mechanical relations involved in animal movements, and thus endeavors to reconcile the contending schools. In the final essay the Reflex Theory is discussed; and here once more the biological point of view rectifies the error of an analysis which has led to the denial of Sensibility in reflex actions, because that analysis has overlooked the necessary presence of the conditions which determine Sensibility"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
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