James Rowland Angell
Researched and written by: Donald F. Kneessi
|I attest that the following biography is a
product of my own original
- James Roland Angell was born in Burlington, Vermont. He came from an
academic family, his grandfather was president of Brown University and his father was president of the University of Vermont and then later the University of Michigan (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
did his undergraduate work at the University
of Michigan, where he
studied under John Dewey. He read James’s The Principles of Psychology, which he said influenced
his thinking more than any other book he has read.
Angell got a chance to work with William
James for a year at Harvard and received his mater’s degree in 1892
(Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
went to Europe to continue his graduate studies
at the universities in Halle
and Helmholtz. He wanted to go on to
Leipzip, but Wundt would not accept anymore students that year. Angell
was unable to complete the work for his doctoral degree.
Angell’s dissertation was accepted with
the condition that he rewrite it in better German, but that would mean
he would have to stay in Halle
without any income coming in. He never
received his Ph.D (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
decided to take an appointment at the University
of Minnesota, where the
salary was low. Even though he never
received his Ph.D., he did grant many doctorates. He
also received 23 honorary degrees himself (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
being at Minnesota for a
year, he accepted an offer from Dewey to be a professor of psychology
at the University of Chicago. He stayed at Chicago
for 25 years. Two of Angell's famous students include Harvey Carr and
John B. Watson. Following in his families
footsteps, he became president of Yale
and helped to develop the Institute
of Human Relations (Schultz
& Schultz, 2004).
1906, he was elected 15th president of APA.
Angell’s 1906 presidential address to the
APA, was published in the Psychological Review. After he retired from academic life, he served
on the board of the National Broadcasting Company (Schultz &
1904, he wrote a highly successful book called Psychology: An
Introductory Study of Structure and Functions of Human Consciousness. The book embodies the functionalist approach. The book was so successful that it appeared in
four editions in four years, indicating the appeal of the functionalist
position. Angell noted that the function
of consciousness is to improve the organism’s adaptive abilities. The goal of psychology is to study how the
mind assist the organism in adjusting to its environment. (Schultz
& Schultz, 2004).
psychology, Angell said, was not at all new but had been a significant
part of psychology from the earliest of times. It
was structural psychology that had set itself apart from the older and
more truly pervasive functional form of psychology. Angell describes
the three major themes of the functionalist movement.
(Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
psychology is the psychology of mental operations, in contrast to
structuralism; witch is the psychology of mental elements.
Angell was promotion functionalism in
direct opposition to Titchener’s elementistic approach.
The task of the functionalism is to
discover how mental process operates, what it accomplishes, and under
what conditions it occurs (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
psychology of the fundamental utilities of consciousness.
Thus, consciousness is viewed in a
utilitarian spirit as it mediates between the needs of the organism and
the demands of the environment. Structures
and functions of the organism exist because they allow the organism to
adapt to its environment and thus to survive. Angell
suggested that because consciousness had survived, it must therefore
perform some essential service for the organism. Functional
psychologist need to discover precisely what this service was, not only
for consciousness, but also for more specific mental processes such as
judging and willing (Schultz & Schultz, 2004).
psychology is the psychology of psychophysical relations (mind-body
relations) and is concerned with the total relationship of the organism
to its environment. Functionalism
encompasses all mind-body functions and recognizes no real distinction
between mind and body. It considers them as belonging to the same order
and assumes an easy transfer from one to the other (Schultz &
Schultz, D. P., &
Schultz, S. E. (2004). A History of Modern Psychology.
196-197. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.