This is an e-text about the historical and philosophical background of Psychology.  It was originally written for the benefit of my students at Shippensburg University, but I hope that it helps anyone with an intellectual interest in the field.  The material is original and copyrighted by myself, and any distribution must be accompanied by my name and the copyright information.  For personal educational use, it is free to one and all.

PDF versions of the text were created by Diana Wieser:

Part 1: The Ancients
Part 2: The Rebirth
Part 3: The 1800s
Part 4: The 1900s

They are also available in German:

Part 1: The Ancients
Part 2: The Rebirth
Part 3: The 1800s
Part 4: The 1900s

Below, the main chapters are in bold; shorter sections, readings, maps, and timelines are in regular type.

Note:  Study guides and practice quizzes are available.  Click here!

Part One:  The Ancients

 Psyche and Eros
 The Presocratics
The Alphabet
Two Poems by Sappho
Timeline:  From 600 BC to 200 BC
Map:  Ancient Mediterranean
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
Plato Selection:  Allegory of the Cave
Logical Fallacies
Kiss Hank's Ass, by Rev. Jim Huber (off-site)
Epicureans and Stoics
A Letter from Epicurus
Selections from Epictetus
Timeline:  From 1 AD to 400 AD

Map:  Roman Empire 116 AD
The Roman Empire
A Brief History of Judaism
Early Christian Heresies
Sunnis and Shiites
Early History of China and India
Part Two:  The Rebirth

The Middle Ages
A Letter from Heloise to Abelard
Timeline:  From 1000 to 1400
Map:  Europe 1278
 The Beginnings of Modern Philosophy
A Letter from Galileo Galilei
René Descartes Selection: Meditations
Quotations from John Comenius
Timeline:  From 1400 to 1800

Map:  Europe 1700
 The Enlightenment
August Comte's Calendar
Benedict Spinoza's Emotions
 David Hume and Immanuel Kant
The Rights of Man
The Rights of Woman
Overlapping Moralities

Part Three:  The 1800s

Timeline:  The 1800s
Map:  Europe 1815
 Early Medicine and Physiology
The Hippocratic Oath
Phrenology Diagram
A Brief History of Psychopharmacology
 Charles Darwin and Evolution
Charles Darwin Selection:  Descent of Man
John, Mary, and the Komodo Dragon
 The Romantic Philosophers
The Quotable Friedrich Nietzsche
Thus SpokeZarathustra -- A Selection
 The Beginnings of Psychology
Sir Francis Galton Selection: Hereditary Talent....
The History of Statistics
 Wilhelm Wundt and William James
William James Selection:  Consciousness
Free will
Part Four:  The 1900s

Timeline:  The 1900s
Map: Europe 1914
Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis
Sigmund Freud Selection:  The Unconscious
B. F. Skinner Selection
Walt Whitman There was a Child...
 Gestalt Psychology
Kurt Köhler Selection:  Gestalt Psychology Today
Carl Rogers Selection:  The Organization of Personality
Phenomenological Existentialism
James Joyce Selection: A Portrait...
Romance:  A Partial Analysis
Modern Medicine and Physiology
A Brief History of the Lobotomy
The Cognitive Movement
Conclusions:  Psychology Today and Tomorrow


In addition to the primary sources mentioned within the text itself, I am indebted to several secondary sources as well:

Will and Ariel Durant - The Story of Civilization.
B. R. Hergenhahn - An Introduction to the History of Psychology.
Daniel N. Robinson - An Intellectual History of Psychology.
The Encyclopedia Britannica (various editions).
Robert Audi (editor) - The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.
William Sahakian - History of Philosophy.
Colin Mcevedy - Penguin Atlas of (Ancient/Medieval/Modern) History.
Kinder and Hildemann - Anchor Atlas of World History.
My own Personality Theories e-text.

All errors are, of course, mine.