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The Study of the History of Psychology

Julian Jaynes
Introduction to Mary Henle, Julian Jaynes, and John J. Sullivan (eds.), Historical Conceptions of Psychology (New York: Springer Publishing Company, Inc., 1973).
Reprinted in Marcel Kuijsten (ed.), The Julian Jaynes Collection (Julian Jaynes Society, 2012).


Why study the history of psychology? To most historians of science the question is not very interesting. The answer is quite obvious: the historical study of man's Promethean attempt to understand himself on this planet is a fascinating adventure that needs no rationale. It is the view from the mountain tops, the surveying of man's most profound problem against the huge panorama of his history, the place where the grandeur is, where the findings, theories, changing importances, and intellectual heroics of every age - including the present one - are woven into exciting patterns. Why study the history of psychology? Because it is psychology, all of it, and psychology cannot be studied seriously apart from its history.