The Philosophical Dimension of Psychology: A Beginner’s Guide

by James A. Harold (Pepperdine University, Franciscan University of Steubenville)

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I like very much the purpose and how the author approaches and develops the subject - a much needed work
Paul Vitz
Professor Emeritus of Psychology at New York University
Author of Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship

Both students and professors typically assume that the content of introductory psychology textbooks, which are empirical in nature, are identical to psychology proper. Yet, what is surprising is how many interesting psychological insights can be found in both philosophy and literature that are often not found in psychology texts. Such insights are clearly psychological in nature, yet they do not go back to any empirical investigation. It seems that basic psychology textbooks—typically providing the basis for undergraduate and graduate psychology programs—represent only one important dimension of psychology: empirical psychology. But there is no simple, co-extensive identity between psychology and empirical psychology.

‘The Philosophical Dimension of Psychology: A Beginner’s Guide’ begins with an investigation of what constitutes the subject matter of psychology, which demonstrates the aspects of psychological reality that are ignored, missed or at times even theoretically denied by mainline contemporary psychology (if they lack an empirical warrant). Such matters include inner conscious experience, the world of intrinsic value, as well as the higher, uniquely personal dimension of human nature (that is, of intellect and will).

This book, therefore, offers a more complete survey of the entire sphere of psychological reality, which could provide the context for more properly interpreting empirical psychological phenomena. For example, should we understand psychological conditioning principles within a broader context of personal freedom? Is a person more rightly conceived in a psychologically immanent way, that is, oriented simply toward the fulfillment of instincts and needs, or is there as well a transcendent orientation, oriented to truth and meaning? Should we understand psychology simply from the point of view of efficient causation, or do we need to also take into account final causation? It will be of interest to psychology students of either undergraduate or graduate level and of great use to those with no prior knowledge of philosophy.


Foreword by James Beauregard


Chapter 1 Psychology, Philosophy and Common Sense

Chapter 2 Psychological Empiricism (Part A): Do Non-Empirical Psychological Phenomena Exist?

Chapter 3 Psychological Empiricism (Part B): A Critique

Chapter 4 The Subject Matter of Psychology (Part A): The Conscious Personal Self

Chapter 5 The Subject Matter of Psychology (Part B): Differing Kinds of Psychic Phenomena

Chapter 6 Locating the Empirical in Psychology

Chapter 7 Human Nature and Rational Psychology

Chapter 8 Psychology, Truth and Personalism

Chapter 9 The Reality and Psychological Significance of Freedom

Chapter 10 Conclusion




James A. Harold is Professor of Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Professor Harold graduated from Pepperdine University (M.A., Psychology), University of Dallas (M.A. Philosophy), with a doctorate in Philosophy from the International Academy of Philosophy. He is the author of two books: An Introduction to the Love of Wisdom (UPA, 2004) and Rationality Within Modern Psychological Theory: Integrating Philosophy and Empirical Science (Lexington, 2016). Harold, with his wife Teresa, are living in Steubenville, Ohio. They have four children and twenty-four grandchildren.

empirical psychology, pragmatism, intuition, rational psychology, positive psychology, value, transcendence, B. F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, Victor Frankl, Carl Rogers, consciousness, personal self, self-reflection, self-presence, psychic acts, moral character, empirical method, transcendence, rationality, empiricism, personalism, psychologism, motivation, volition

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

The Philosophical Dimension of Psychology: A Beginner’s Guide





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date

April 2022