Human nature in the light of psychopathology

Human nature in the light of psychopathology.
Goldstein, K.
Oxford, England: Harvard Univ. Press. (1940). x 258 pp.


  1. In these William James Lectures, 1937-38, the author discusses the Gestalt or holistic versus the analytic method and emphasizes the importance of each. “The analytic scientific approach remains the only one by means of which phenomena can be discovered in a systematic way.” Proceeding then to elaborate the nature of man from the standpoint of a psychopathologist, 3 particular characteristics are emphasized: the inability of the mentally sick to grasp the abstract and thus free themselves from concrete situations; the occurrence of anxiety as the subjective experience that the organism’s existence is in danger with the possible consequent arousal of fear, which comes from the possibility of the onset of anxiety; and the basic drive of self actualization, the various individual drives usually assumed being “special reactions in special situations, and [representing] the various forms by which the organism expresses itself.” The chapter headings are as follows: the holistic approach and the analytic method in science; pathology and the nature of man; the abstract attitude and speech; ordered and catastrophic behavior, anxiety and fear; coming to terms with the world; on the motives actuating human behavior; on the structure of personality; the individual and others; and the fallacy of isolation in social philosophy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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