Discusses the nature of psychology, compares the theories of psychoanalysis and behaviorism, and shows the unity of general and abnormal psychology.
In these gnomic-cryptic reflections the late Prof. Miller (Philosophy, Williams Coll.) examines the world of mental exprience, arguing that it has a special status - reducible neither to the radical subjectivism of the stream-of-consciousness nor to the pseudoscientific objectification of behaviorism. This volume is the fifth in the publisher's series of Miller's posthumous papers. Like the others, it is not really a finished book (it concludes with a "selection of paragraphs" and some class notes by one of M.'s students), but its dry wit and analytic adroitness make it a worthy project. In his laconic, unsystematic way Miller defends what is basically a traditional view of the psyche (freedom of the will, the privileged nature of human consciousness) by laying claim to an intellectual homeland in between Bishop Berkeley and B. F. Skinner. This is what Miller calls the "midworld," a sphere that is neither "real" (in the physico-chemical sense) nor merely apparent, but where reality and appearance are joined together in the "actual," where constructs like clocks, yardsticks, or words mediate between persons and objects. Though he never quite sums up his case, Miller comes close when he says, apropos of the problem of how we know other minds: "One finds objects only through the self, through the wholeness of the self, through a peculiar self, through a limited and bounded self, through the society of selves." Miller's style requires a lot of unpacking and spelling out - the text is full of quasi-koans like "there are no stones until I throw one" - but it's also unusually pungent and free of academic jargon. Americans generally leave the field of philosophical psychology (except for the inspirational and self-help genre) to Europeans, but this fragmentary survey of it from a commonsensical-empirical standpoint contains some rich and stimulating material. (Kirkus Reviews)