ESHHS member Roger Smith’s new books

Roger Smith, Between Mind and Nature: A History of Psychology (London: Reaktion Books, Feb. 2013; distributed in US by University of Chicago Press)

This is a new and up-to-date history of psychology with a historian of science’s perspective. It is a critical history in the sense that it looks at psychology ‘from the outside’: it understands psychological beliefs and activity historically and does not take a psychological way of thought for granted. The book is for anyone interested in human nature and in the relations of the sciences and the humanities. I also hope students and psychologists of all kinds will find stimulus here and, though it is not a text-book, its coverage is unusually full. I write distinctively about the variety of psychological activity and the intellectual and social worlds of which it has been part. The history of psychology covers a field without clear boundaries, and I try to do justice to this. It is possible, though, to read chapters separately. The book has an origin in an earlier and larger book,The Fontana (or NortonHistory of the Human Sciences, published some fifteen years ago and out of print. This new book is different, with a sharper focus on psychology and much new material. In places, I have rewritten and brought up to date earlier material where that best suited my purpose; and I have also rewritten material taken from a version of theFontana/Norton history translated and published in Russia.

Roger Smith, Free Will and the Human Sciences in Britain, 1870-1910 (London: Pickering & Chatto, Jan. 2013)

From the late nineteenth century onwards religion gave way to science as the dominant force in society. This led to a questioning of the principle of free will _ if the workings of the human mind could be reduced to purely physiological explanations, then what place was there for human agency and self-improvement?  Smith takes an in-depth look at the problem of free will through the prism of different disciplines. Physiology, psychology, philosophy, evolutionary theory, ethics, history and sociology all played a part in the debates that took place. His subtly nuanced navigation through these arguments has much to contribute both to our understanding of Victorian and Edwardian science and culture, as well having relevance to current debates on the role of genes in determining behaviour.

Contents

1. Belief in Free Will: What was at Stake?
 2. Physiology and Mind in the 1870s
 3. Shaping the Science of Psychology
 4. Volition and Mental Activity 
5. Causation 
6.The Moral Agent 
7. History and Society
 8. The Legacy

Perspectives on culture: society, politics and the individual

Ratner (2012)Two interesting books have recently been published by Carl Ratner, director of the Institute for Cultural Research and Education. The first, Macro Cultural Psychology, a Political Philosophy of Mind, explains how macro cultural factors are the cornerstones of society and how they form the origins and characteristics of psychological phenomena. In doing so it articulates a systematic political philosophy of mind and utilizes this to examine current issues and approaches to psychology.

In Cooperation, Community, and Co-Ops in a Global Era, Ratner argues for a societal paradigm shift and details how such a transformation might be accomplished. Taking the evolutionary long view, he demonstrates how cooperative principles can make a social system not just more efficient and less wasteful of time and resources, but also more democratic, empowering, and fulfilling for everyone involved.

Carl Ratner, Macro Cultural Psychology, a Political Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press, 2011. 544 pp. ISBN 978-0-195-37354-7

Carl Ratner, Cooperation, Community, and Co-Ops in a Global Era. Springer, 2012. 245 pp. ISBN 978-1-461-45824-1

Würzburg 2013: Call for Papers

We are glad to announce the call for papers for our 2013 conference in Würzburg

Proposals are welcome for spoken papers, posters, workshops and symposia, and should be submitted before March 31st, 2013.

More information can be found in the document that can be dowloaded through the following link.

Würzburg 2013 Call for Papers (.pdf)

2013 conference in Würzburg

Adolf-Wurth-Zentrum fur Geschichte der PsychologieWe are glad to announce that the next conference of the ESHHS will take place from 30th of July to 2nd of August 2013 at the Oswald Külpe Lecture Hall at the University of Würzburg, Germany. Local organizer is Prof. Dr. Armin Stock from the Adolf-Würth-Zentrum für Geschichte der Psychologie, who has been so hospitable to invite us. We hope to meet old friends and welcome new faces in lovely Würzburg!

A call for papers will follow in due course.