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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 3950F/G
Professor
Albert N Katz
Semester
Fall

Description
WILLIAM JAMES (1842-1910) - Born in new York city - Harvard + Harvard med(1864) - 1865-66 joins Agassiz expedition to Brazil, gets smallpox, returns home & illness recurs throughout life - Instructor in anatomy and phys at Harvard - 1870s Metaphysical club = group of men who get together to debate the virtues of positivism, rationalism and eventually pragmatism - 1875 teaches psych at Harvard then ass. Prof of phys - Marries and has 5 children - Begins teaching philosophy and has many important publications before his death - “Acute enlargement of the heart. He had worn himself out” – his wife - PRAGMATISM: to have a belief is to have certain rules for action. Any and every notion has its own set of practical consequences. The meaning of a thought is said to be whatever course of action necessarily follow it. In metaphysical disputes b/w false and true notions, the dispute must be settled by considering the practical consequences of the two notions. >> any two notions that can be shown to have identical practical consequences are shown to be identical notions - “whenever a dispute is serious, we ought to be able to show some practical difference that must follow from one side or the other’s being right” FUNCTIONALISM = study of the functions and adaptive value of the mind - First NON GERMAN BASED school of psych - Heavily influenced by Charles Darwin and sir francis galton - James >> more of a philosopher despite being credited with creating first psych lab in USA, he rejected strict experimental lab research to reasoned speculations - IN PRINCIPLES OF PSYCH (james): important to know about how consciousness worked and its adaptability (like functionalism) o 4 basic characteristics of consciousness: Personal, Ever-changing, Continuous (can’t be divided up for analysis opposing titchener’s structuralism) and is Selective >>> PECS o Opposed the search for the element of consciousness as futile, like trying to understand a home by studying individual bricks o Consciousness is unitary, indivisible, >>> ‘stream of consciousness’, it is active: selects the aspects of the environment to which attention is paid - CONCEPT OF HABIT: o NS: plastic and malleable, habits reflect linkages b/w brain centers and behaviour, repeated firing of the linkage = increased strength o Behaviours are repeated on the basis of outcomes: those that work are retained, those that don’t are abandoned >> pragmatic JAMES-LAN
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