“In this little work, Professor Baldwin has attempted, like Socrates of Athens, to bring philosophy down from the heavens to earth and to the homes of men. Indeed, the making of primers of psychology is now quite the mode. It is a very good sign, indeed, when a science reaches the stage where it can be written in the form of a primer, and it is a real test of a scientist’s ability and acquaintance with his subject when he can write a primer – particularly a primer of psychology. So one opens a book of this kind with a certain fear and dread. The work before us, however, speedily allays such apprehension. It is a useful summary of psychological methods and results. It turns out, indeed, to be not really a primer of psychology at all, but rather an elementary introduction to psychological methods. We miss wholly, but not inconsolably, the usual routine of the elements of psychology, and the whole subject is with a wide sweep ‘rounded up,’ as it were, into a brief compass. In a series of chapters with such headings as ‘The Mind of the Animal,’ ‘The Mind of the Child,’ and ‘The Connection of Body and Mind,’ it treats of comparative, physiological, introspective, experimental, abnormal, educational and social psychology, and the psychology of the child and the genius. Although it has little to say about sensation, perception, and memory images, it gives one a vivid conception of what a big thing the mind really is and what a place it has in nature, in history, in society. The style is simple and modest. Controversies are, of course, avoided. Two of the best chapters are on ‘The Mind of the Child,’ and ‘The Training of the Mind.” They contain good psychology and wise and useful pedagogy, and illustrate, as does the whole book, the author’s independence and originality.
“It would be as easy as it would be graceless to criticize a book of so wide a plan and so narrow a compass. The preface prepares readers of Professor Baldwin’s other works to recognize certain old friends, the recognition extending in some cases through whole chapters, as in the psychology of the socius and the genius; but this is hardly a fault, as these parts represent some of the author’s original contributions to the science of psychology, and make the book something more than a mere dry summary of methods and facts.” -G. T. W. Patrick, The Psychological Review, Volume 5, 1898
“It is a big subject dealt with in a way so dignified and at the same time so clear and simple that it must appeal to every student of education. The problems discussed have been developed much more elaborately by the same author in his larger works, but here he has undertaken to cover the whole subject briefly, to make distinct each phase of the subject and at the same time show its relation to the whole, and he has succeeded. He has succeeded admirably. Professor Baldwin has the most thorough grasp of his subject. He deals with the essentials all the time and in a most refreshing common-sense style for these times.
“This little book is loaded. It is a stimulus and an inspiration. It defines psychology, distinguishes between human and animal psychology, discusses child psychology, makes clear the distinction between physiological and experimental psychology, gives hypnotism its proper place, treats of some practical problems in educational psychology, shows the relation of the individual mind and society, tells what a genius is, and classifies the literature of the subject. And all this is done so well that the reader, like Oliver Twist, asks for more.” -The Inland Educator, Volume 9, 1899
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James Mark Baldwin is considered one of the founders of developmental psychology. He was an American philosopher and psychologist who was educated at Princeton under the supervision of Scottish philosopher James McCosh and who was one of the founders of the Department of Psychology at the university. He made important contributions to early psychology, psychiatry, and to the theory of evolution.
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