Pythagoras to Present
576 pp., 6 x 9 in, 46 figures
- Published: August 19, 2011
- Published: March 20, 2009
A history of ideas about mind, knowledge, the self, ethics, and free will, and their importance as more than just precursors of current thinking.
Certain ideas have preoccupied thinkers since ancient times: the nature of mind, the sources of knowledge and belief, the nature of the self and ethics, the best way to lead our lives, the question of free will. In this book, John Malone examines these ideas in the writings of thinkers from antiquity to the present day and argues for their importance not just as precursors of modern views but as ideas that are frequently better than current ones. We can get good advice, he writes, from the writings of the best thinkers of the past. Pythagoras, Thales, Plato, Protagoras, Aristotle, Diogenes, and Epictetus all offer tried and tested ideas on how we should lead our lives and on the treatment of psychopathology—as do Berkeley, Hume, John Stuart Mill, Johann Friedrich Herbart, Wilhelm Wundt, William James, Sigmund Freud, and B. F. Skinner. Malone begins with the naturalistic and mystical strains of early Greek thought, moves on to Platonism and the world of Forms (and considers parallels between the thought of Plato and Freud), and discusses “Ancient Self-Help Therapies” (including Epicureanism). He investigates the psychological insights of Enlightenment thinkers including Francis Bacon and Galileo, Locke's and Kant's theories of experience, and Darwin's evolutionary thinking. He charts the rise of modern psychology and the beginning of “biological psychology.” He examines the work of Wundt, Titchener, Freud, Peirce, and James, among others, and describes the ideas of behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, and cognitive science. Malone's history offers both breadth and depth, an engaging style and rigorous scholarship, demonstrating vividly the relevance of the great historical psychological thinkers.
Malone has put together a comprehensive overview of psychology that is unmatched. It integrates thought about behavior from the Greeks to the present. This readable and authoritative book is a must for anyone interested in the history of psychology. It will make an excellent textbook and a sourcebook for scholars.
William M. Baum, University of California, Davis, Emeritus Professor, University of New Hampshire, and author of Understanding Behaviorism
John Malone has written a splendid book! A lively, readable and vigorous defense of history. It is covers a wide sweep from the early Greeks through Roman and Christian philosophy and the Enlightenment to modern developments such as cognitivism and behaviorism. It is both informative and critical, full of aperçus that clobber their targets with force and grace. I hope that Malone's book may do for psychology what Bertrand Russell's historical opus did for philosophy. Read it.
J. E. R. Staddon, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University