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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Seltz, Jennifer

Second Advisor

Price, Hunter

Third Advisor

Mana, Mike J.


This thesis explores the early history of psychology, from the late nineteenth century to the 1960s, and the life and ideas of public intellectual Aldous Huxley (1894-1963). I argue that, in his role as an interdisciplinary outside observer, Huxley framed a new humanistic approach for psychology decades before the Humanistic movement emerged as a legitimate disciplinary approach in the 1950s and 1960s. By focusing on Huxley’s considerable body of non-fiction relating to psychology, including his many books of essays, critiques, articles, letters, and lecture transcripts, as well as the formative contributions of major psychological theorists, this thesis demonstrates how ideas from diverse fields influenced the evolution of a discipline and how Huxley was an integral part of that mixing process. In doing so, this thesis challenges the accepted historical origins of the Humanistic psychology movement while introducing an original take on Aldous Huxley’s historical significance. Finally, this thesis illustrates the value of viable relationships between science and the humanities; shows the power and utility of ideas once disentangled from dogmatic systems; indicates how dynamic social trends determine which ideas, or sets of ideas, will take root and flourish; and lastly, how ideological momentum eventually dissipates, opening doors for new paradigms to emerge.




Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963--Influence

Subject – LCSH

Humanistic psychology--History




masters theses




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