Encountering the World: Toward an Ecological Psychology

Encountering the World: Toward an Ecological Psychology

Encountering the World reorients modern psychology by finding a viable middle ground between the study of nerve cells and cultural analysis. The emerging field of ecological psychology focuses on the “human niche” and our uniquely evolved modes of action and interaction. Rejecting both mechanistic cognitive science and reductionistic neuroscience, the author offers a new psychology that combines ecological and experimental methods to help us better understand the ways in which people and animals make their way through the world. The book provides a comprehensive treatment of ecological psychology and a unique synthesis of the work of Darwin, neural Darwinism, and modern ecologists with James Gibson’s approach to perception. The author presents detailed discussions on communication, sociality, cognition, and language–topics often overlooked by ecological psychologists. Other issues covered include ecological approaches to animal behavior, neural mechanisms, perception, action, and interaction. Provocative and controversial, Encountering the World makes a significant contribution to the debate over the nature of psychology.

List Price: $ 59.99

Price: $ 45.00


2 Comments so far »

  1. James L. Jackson "Jim Jackson" said,

    Wrote on November 10, 2011 @ 12:42 am

    13 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    creative thinker and excellent writer, August 10, 2000
    By A Customer
    This review is from: Encountering the World: Toward an Ecological Psychology (Hardcover)

    I learned a great deal from this book-from beginning to end. Reed is not only a thinker of great scope but also of consistency. It’s a little hard to tell that Reed is a philosopher and not just a psychologist, given how little philosophy he cites and how few purely conceptual arguments he engages in. But his theoretical consistency does give the book a strong philosophical cast.

    Don’t just read the first half of the book, where Reed lays out his conception of ecological psychology and explains how psychology is a much more ancient phenomenon in evolutionary history than we are led to believe by current cognitive science. The second half of the book offers interesting references to archeological and anthropological work for those whose primary interest is in psychology. It also describes early development in human childhood in a way that seems well aware of comparative-cultural issues. Thus the second part of the book could be interesting whether or not one is sympathetic to ecological psychology as a research program.

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

  2. Anonymous said,

    Wrote on November 10, 2011 @ 1:42 am

    4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Ecological psychology: the psychology of animacy, July 10, 2009
    By 
    James L. Jackson “Jim Jackson” (Columbus OHIO) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Encountering the World: Toward an Ecological Psychology (Hardcover)

    Throughout this review, I will refer to Dr. Reed as Ed because, though I was not anything approximating a friend or even a colleague, I corresponded with him in the early 90s as I worked to understand the enterprise of Ecological Psychology. I called him Ed then, and I call him Ed now. This book was among the last three books that Ed completed in a concentrated effort of writing during the last few years of his life (though as he acknowledged, he had been writing this particular book since the mid-1970s). To understand ENCOUNTERING THE WORLD, one must first at least get the lay of the land for the book. ENCOUNTERING was one of Ed’s triptych; the goal of this trilogy was to (a) lay out a historical perspective that led to the psychology of William James, which was an intellectual forerunner of James Gibson’s Ecological Psychology; (b) present his own form of Ecological Psychology, derived very tightly from the intellectual heritage of both Gibson and Charles Darwin; and (c) present, on the basis of his Ecological Psychology, the case to those of us living in the modern world to regain the appreciation and practice of actually experiencing the world directly, not indirectly. ENCOUNTERING THE WORLD is the culmination of Ed’s understanding of both Charles Darwin and James Gibson and he presented that understanding to us in the form of his own Ecological Psychology. Ed’s ecological psychology in ENCOUNTERING THE WORLD is explicitly rooted in Darwinian evolution, a connection which Gibson failed to make but that Ed concluded was mandatory for understanding how animals and humans contact and know their world and interact with conspecifics. ENCOUNTERING THE WORLD is clearly Ed’s personal psychology, but more than that, it is a psychology of what it means to be a person. Yet all the while Ed’s ecological psychology is unquestionably a scientific psychology. It was Ed’s fervent hope that the Discipline Of Psychology, constituted by the mishmash that is information processing, the causal theory of perception and behavior and the untractable dualism that permeates it, could one day take better stock of itself, throw off this unworkable view of the human condition and again start work on trying to understand human behavior and experience based on how people actually lived their lives. If your goal is to read about a psychology of being human and of human activity, not a psychology of humans-as-computers or a psychology of humans-as-neurons, then is a good place to start.

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.