Document Type

Book

Title

Archeopsychology and the Modern Mind

Publication Date

12-11-2011

ISBN

978-1-105-19985-1

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The evolution of six core ideas central to contemporary psychology is explored. A characteristic of the ideas chosen is that each can be shown to be appear and re-appear in humankind’s attempts to explain the working of the human mind.

The theme proposes an archeopsychology; that is, an attempt to uncover and evaluate remnants of cultural ideas to show that they re-appear in modern thought. The core ideas are that (1) the mind can escape itself (hypnotism, animal magnetism, some modern metaphysics); (2) phrenology, that areas of the body, especially the brain, correspond in size or anatomy to behavioral traits (phrenology, some neuroscience); (3) evolution or a supreme power favors human progress; (4) body-type (sanguine, florid, thin, fat) corresponds to temperament; (5) body-type predicts the probability of criminal behavior (constitutional psychology); and, containing elements of all of the above, (6) selection from the gene pool of favored characteristics (eugenics, some extensions of sociobiology) to promote human progress and well-being.

The tone does not demean ideas of other times and places, but attempts to place these ideas as serious attempts to grasp the workings of the mind. The work is an intellectual history of these six ideas, each thought by the author to represent rich examples of how psychology does not escape reinventing longstanding core ideas (sometimes called root-metaphors) as new.

The readership addressed is the general, educated, reader interested in human nature. Drafts have been used as texts in upper-level psychology courses in colleges.

What the book is not. It is not a text of names and dates in the history of psychology. It is a text on the intellectual history of six chosen topics. It is not pejorative or a book that ridicules previously-held ideas. Rather, it sees these as data for an understanding of how the human mind clings to various ideas, re-inventing them from time to time.

It is not a work that tells the reader what to think. Rather, it offers the reader a partnership with the author in understanding the longstanding metaphors that guide our understanding of behavior and the mind.

(end)

The evolution of six core ideas central to contemporary psychology is explored. A characteristic of the ideas chosen is that each can be shown to be appear and re-appear in humankind’s attempts to explain the working of the human mind.

The theme proposes an archeopsychology; that is, an attempt to uncover and evaluate remnants of cultural ideas to show that they re-appear in modern thought. The core ideas are that (1) the mind can escape itself (hypnotism, animal magnetism, some modern metaphysics); (2) phrenology, that areas of the body, especially the brain, correspond in size or anatomy to behavioral traits (phrenology, some neuroscience); (3) evolution or a supreme power favors human progress; (4) body-type (sanguine, florid, thin, fat) corresponds to temperament; (5) body-type predicts the probability of criminal behavior (constitutional psychology); and, containing elements of all of the above, (6) selection from the gene pool of favored characteristics (eugenics, some extensions of sociobiology) to promote human progress and well-being.

The tone does not demean ideas of other times and places, but attempts to place these ideas as serious attempts to grasp the workings of the mind. The work is an intellectual history of these six ideas, each thought by the author to represent rich examples of how psychology does not escape reinventing longstanding core ideas (sometimes called root-metaphors) as new.

The readership addressed is the general, educated, reader interested in human nature. Drafts have been used as texts in upper-level psychology courses in colleges.

What the book is not. It is not a text of names and dates in the history of psychology. It is a text on the intellectual history of six chosen topics. It is not pejorative or a book that ridicules previously-held ideas. Rather, it sees these as data for an understanding of how the human mind clings to various ideas, re-inventing them from time to time.

It is not a work that tells the reader what to think. Rather, it offers the reader a partnership with the author in understanding the longstanding metaphors that guide our understanding of behavior and the mind.

(end)

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