"The proper study of mankind is man," wrote Alexander Pope, and the attempt to understand the nature of the human mind has been a central preoccupation of leading thinkers throughout the ages. In this intriguing book, author John G. Benjafield, an expert in the history of psychology, examines the contributions of scores of psychologists and psychological thinkers, from Pythagoras, Lao-tzu, and Aristotle to Darwin, Skinner, and Jung.
Benjafield begins by considering the origins of psychological thought in the philosophical works of Plato and Aristotle, who framed many of the key questions that still define the field. After considering the contributions of such scholars as Descartes and Darwin, the author examines the rise of psychology as a distinct academic discipline, discussing in detail the work of William James and Wilhelm Wundt, before moving on to the seminal contributions of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Later chapters deal with the rise of behaviourism and with recent developments in the field, including the growing influence of neuroscience. The result is a fascinating look at how mankind's "proper study" has been carried out, from ancient times to the present day.