Principles of Psychology: Brains, Minds, and Bodies


When William James published The Principles of Psychology in 1890, he described it scathingly as a “loathsome, distended, tumefied, bloated, dropsical mass” that proved that he was an incompetent and that psychology was not a science. More than 100 years later, it is one of the most quoted and influential psychological texts. In Principles, James set out his views on a range of subjects that continue to capture the interest of contemporary psychologists and neuroscientists, such as attention, memory, the senses, the self, consciousness, habit, time perception, and emotion. We will read some of James’s writings in conjunction with contemporary texts that draw inspiration from his work and discuss them in light of current neuroscientific studies of the brain, mind, and body.