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G. F. STOUT, M. A. Camb., M. A. Oxon., LL.D. Aberdeen Late Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and University Lecturer in the Moral Sciences; Late Anderson Lecturer on Comparative Psychology in the University of Aberdeen; Wilde Reader in Mental Philosophy in the University of Oxford; Examiner at London Univer. sity; Editor of “Mind”; Author of "Analytic Psychology"; etc.
From the Preface The present work contains an exposition of Psychology from a genetic point of view. A glance at the table of contents will show that the order followed is that of the successive stages of mental development. The earlier stages have been copiously illustrated by reference to the mental life of animals. The phases through which the ideal construction of Self and the world has passed are illustrated by reference to the mental condition of the lower races of mankind.
The shortcoming which I have been most anxious to avoid is sketchiness. I am convinced that the study of Psychology is of no use to the student unless he is able to live himself into psychological problems, so as to acquire a real power of thinking for himselt on psychological topics. "For this purpose cut and dried statements skimming important questions are of no avail. An effective introduction to Pyschology must be clothed in living flesh and blood, both for the student's own sake, and for the sake of his success in examinations. Nothing is more dreary and exasperating to the examiner than to read papers by a candidate who has evidently crammed books on Psychology, but who has never done a genuine bit of psychological thinking. The most essential gift to be imparted to the beginner is a real interest in the subject, and a real power of dealing with it even when familiar formulas fail him. He ought to be able to do riders in Psychology as he does riders in Euclid. It is true that there are students who cannot advance so far from lack of natural endowment. But even for them a treatment full enough to be interesting and so rememberable is better than arid and dogmatic statements which have to be read over feverishly the day before an examination in order that they may not slip, out of the mind. Certainly the teacher who needs Psychology for educational purposes would do much better to leave the subject alone altogether than to learn it in a merely external way.
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