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Dieses Buch war die Lektüre für eine Vorlesung. Es ist relativ umfassend und dennoch nicht allzu tiefschürfend. Ich fand es sehr gut als Klausurvorbereitung. Dennoch finde ich den Preis sehr heftig. Ich habe es gebraucht für ca. 20 Euro erstanden. Für 230 hätte ich es nicht gekauft.
This text was used in a graduate-level History of Psychology course. I found it to be highly readable. Many of the stories here are interesting, and many ideas are thrown around. As someone who was not super familiar with philosophy, these ideas served to be interesting if a bit brief. Unfortunately, this book tries to cover the history of ideas from ancient Greece to modern times, and when something like positivism can fill its own textbook, corners are cut and concepts are simplified. With that said, this book doesn't do a terrible job of summarizing these turning points in science in a conversational and easy way.
As a textbook, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGY too often repeats its formula: here's a time in history, here are individual people that wrote things during this time, here's a turning point, and here's the shift of this paradigm. Rinse and repeat. Bias is also present here; the chapter on Freud and Psychoanalysis feels overcritical (compared to how other controversial figures are treated). The ending chapter on modern psychology consists of little more than statistics of the American Psychological Association.
At its best, this book is easy and fun to read, but at its worse, it is an assortment of loosely related anecdotes. I would recommend this to psychology students who have an interest in the history of their field of study, but I don't know if I would have it required for a class.
OMGOSH! This book has to be just about the most boring ever - the layout is far more scholarly with VERY few pictures and then only in b&w - of the early philosophers, etc. There are NO side blurbs to brighten things up, and the font size is maybe 12 and serif, rather than san serif making it less appealing to the eye.
It's working for what I have to have it for I guess. I don't recall the specific description of the condition, but the binding is apart in the first 7 pages - everything else is together good and secure with only a few corner scuffs to the cover. The book arrived on time, which was a Godsend for sure. We had 7..... yes, SEVEN chapters to read this first week! That's 229 pages in this baby!
I guess I would think there has to be a more friendly version of the material - otherwise, it's what was required - so I bought it. :)
Good overview of the history of psychology. Gives good amount of depth to subjects without delving too deep. Fairly easy to read and navigate. Becomes monotonous and dry at points, but overall decent.
Starts a lot farther back in history than most psychology texts do. That could be considered either a positive or negative, depending on your personal assessment of the beginnings of psychology emerged.
Each chapter has a summary/review and a mini glossary of terms and people covered in the chapter. This is incredibly helpful!
I'm very disappointed about this guy's ability to rightly characterize many of the positions held by prominent intellectuals. I'll just give you a few examples:
On p. 16 "Psychologists who... believe that there are causes specific causes of behavior but that they cannot be accurately known. Such a position is called indeterminism."
What!? That's not what indeterminism is at all! Indeterminism is simply the negation of determinism. The idea is that some events are not completely determined by prior causes, and thus even if all the prior causes were completely known, the outcome couldn't be predicted with complete accuracy.
On the same page, he goes on to characterize a position he calls "nondeterminism" as a position that psychologists "usually working within either a humanistic or an existential paradigm," hold, and is the belief "that the most important causes of behavior are self-generated," and thus "for this group, behavior is freely chosen and thus independent of physical or psychological causes." He then goes on to say that because this view denies determinism, it is not scientific.
What!? Where in the heck does this word "nondeterminism" come from? I personally have never heard it, so I did a google search and philosophypapers.com search and couldn't find the word used in any way like how he wants to use it. Second, no psychologist would say that behavior is chosen completely independently of physical and psychological causes. Even the most staunch believer in free choice believes that the person is largely influenced by physical and psychological causes. Third... the guy is simply trying to characterize a view that is *indeterministic* and includes something like an agent-based conception of libertarian freedom. Apparently he doesn't know what indeterminism is (and the rest of the book shows he doesn't know what libertarian freedom is). Fourth, the fact that he concludes this kind of position is "nonscientific" because of it's denial of determinism, shows that he doesn't understand science! Has he forgotten that our most successful scientific theory, quantum mechanics, has a long tradition of being understood under the Copenhagen Interpretation, which is INDETERMINISTIC!
Another example is the following. He characterizes a fallacy he calls "reification," the mistake of taking a mere object of thought to be real just because it can be thought about. Then on p. 85, he accuses St. Anselm as committing this fallacy in his "ontological argument for the existence of God," which he characterizes in the following way. I'll quote him at length:
"This is a complex argument, but essentially says that if we can think of something, something must be causing the thought. That is, when we think of things, there must exist real things corresponding to those thoughts (reification). St. Anselm beckoned us to continue thinking of a being until we could think of no better or greater a being "than which nothing greater can be conceived." This perfect being that we have conjured up is God, and because we can think of him, he exists."
What!? This is nothing like Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God! The argument is stated very simply and clearly in the following way:
The concept, that-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought would apply to God, if indeed, God exists. Existence is greater than nonexistence. Therefore, God exists.
This is exactly how this argument has traditionally been formulated, and despite clarifications and modifications that philosophers have made to it, nobody who understands the argument would characterize it in the way Hergenhahn has. In no way is the principle that "if we can think of something, something must be causing the thought" relevant to Anselm's argument. Nor would Anselm admit that we could actually "think" of this being. He simply makes the negative assertion that we can't think of a greater being. It is also a fallacy of begging-the-question that Hergenhahn is committing when he calls the "reification" involved in the argument a "fallacy." That is to say, it is precisely the magnitude of the nature of the supposed object we can't conceive of that makes it unlike other objects the fallacy of reification would be applicable to.
Misunderstanding such as these pervade the book. I'm sad I spent 35 dollars on it. I gave it 2 stars because the subject matter is still fascinating, even if largely misconstrued. But honestly, I'm being generous.
This text was very informative and I found myself learning more than enough information about important psychologist, events in history related to the field, and the ever evolving field. So much information was provided I felt like I was ofte over prepared for classes /exams. Great text.