"An unfortunate habit of our times has been the carrying of specialization, so necessary in many scientific fields, into the study of the human personality. The consequence has been the subjection of man to the despotism of the various sciences and his division into many loosely related parts and functions. Biology and psychology, genetics and physiology, sociology and the medical sciences, have quarreled without end over the boundaries of the claims which they have staked out and mined in their quest of a more precise knowledge of the nature of man and the determinants of his conduct. Each in its turn has minimized, and even ridiculed, the efforts of fellow-interpreters of human nature; and each has stoutly and jealously supported its own exclusive dogmas. This book is the expression of a reaction against such special theories and the conflict that they have caused; it has been planned and written in view of the acute need of well integrated studies of our sometimes bewilderingly complex life. Man is something more than the sum of his parts as viewed by the individual sciences. If we are to understand human life and assist in the solution of its problems, it is necessary for us to assume the attitudes of both dynamic psychology and sociology, with their emphasis upon the influence of environment and the limits of adjustment, and biology, with its emphasis upon the mechanisms of heredity. It is more than clear that human beings cannot be merely psychologized, or sociologized, or biologized; they must be seen eclectically, as integrations--as Gestalten. Philosophy, once the mother of sciences, was a synthesis to which all the sciences directly contributed. To this lost synthesis modern research, with its promise of a reconciliation within itself, seems gradually to be returning. Hence, in viewing the human personality as a unit, the author has looked forward to this end"--Preface. "This book is distinctive in that it represents the sociologist's point of view, that is, the conception of the influence of experience. While the author gives due emphasis to the biological and other factors, such as the influence of the endocrine glands in the development of personality, he at the same time places much emphasis upon the influence of experience in conditioning the person and his behavior"--Introduction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Includes index. Electronic reproduction. Washington, D.C. : American Psychological Association, 2005. Available via the World Wide Web. Access limited by licensing agreement. s2005 dcunns.