David Leary was a University Professor at the University of Richmond from 2002 to 2016. For the previous 13 years, he was Dean of Arts and Sciences at Richmond. Before that he spent 12 years at the University of New Hampshire, where served as Professor of Psychology, History, and the Humanities, chairperson of the Department of Psychology, and co-director of the History and Theory of Psychology Program. In May 2016 he retired from teaching and was given emeritus status.
A fellow and past president of several divisions of the American Psychological Association as well as a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, he has focused his research on the history of psychology, and especially on the impact of the humanities (e.g., art, literature, religion, and philosophy) on the development of modern psychology. He has also been interested in the converse influence of modern psychology upon culture, especially in the United States.
The author of more than 50 articles and chapters, he has also co-edited the award-winning A Century of Psychology as Science (1985, reissued 1992) and edited a seminal volume on Metaphors in the History of Psychology (1990). He is currently writing a book on William James’s classic Principles of Psychology (1890) and preparing another on the influence of literature on psychology, especially as seen in the life and work of William James.
Distinguished Educator Award, University of Richmond (2013)
Lifetime Achievement Award, Society for the History of Psychology (2009)
Best Article on the History of Psychology, American Psychological Association (2006)
Most Outstanding Scholarly and Professional Book in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Association of American Publishers (1985)
“William James in Dialogue with Arthur Schopenhauer.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Grand Rapids, MI, 7 March 2015.
A Century of Psychology as Science (2d rev. ed., co-edited with Sigmund Koch). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1992. (Association of American Publisher’s “most outstanding scholarly and professional book in the social and behavioral sciences” in 1985; reissued in 1992 as a centennial publication of the American Psychological Association.)
Metaphors in the History of Psychology (edited volume). New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. (Reissued in paperback in 1994).
"Authentic Tidings': What Wordsworth Gave to William James." William James Studies 13 (2017): 1-26.
“New Insights into William James’s Personal Crisis in the Early 1870s: Part II. John Bunyan and the Resolution & Consequences of the Crisis.” William James Studies 11 (2015): 27-44.
“New Insights into William James’s Personal Crisis in the Early 1870s: Part I. Arthur Schopenhauer and the Origin & Nature of the Crisis.” William James Studies 11 (2015): 1-26.
"Overcoming Blindness: Some Historical Reflections on Qualitative Psychology." Qualitative Psychology 1 (2014): 17-33. (An inaugural article in the first issue of this new journal of the American Psychological Association.)
"Visions and Values: Ethical Reflections in a Jamesian Key." Journal of Mind and Behavior 30 (2009): 121-138.
"Between Peirce (1878) and James (1898): G. Stanley Hall, the Origins of Pragmatism, and the History of Psychology." Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 45 (2009): 5-20.
"G. Stanley Hall, A Man of Many Words: The Role of Reading, Speaking, and Writing in His Psychological Work.” History of Psychology 9 (2006): 198-223. (Named “the best article on the history of psychology in 2006” by the Society for the History of Psychology.)
“On the Conceptual and Linguistic Activity of Psychologists: The Study of Behavior from the 1890s to the 1990s and Beyond.” Behavior and Philosophy 32 (2004): 13-35.
“One Big Idea, One Ultimate Concern: Sigmund Koch’s Critique of Psychology and Hope for the Future.” American Psychologist 56 (2001): 425-432.
“Naming and Knowing: Giving Forms to Things Unknown.” Social Research 62 (1995): 267-298.
“William James, the Psychologist’s Dilemma, and the Historiography of Psychology: Cautionary Tales.” History of the Human Sciences 8 (1995): 91-105.
“William James and the Art of Human Understanding.” American Psychologist 47 (1992): 152-160. (Reprinted in anthologies in 1997, 2002, & 2007.)
“Telling Likely Stories: The Rhetoric of the New Psychology, 1880 1920.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 23 (1987): 315-331.
“German Idealism and the Development of Psychology in the Nineteenth Century.” Journal of the History of Philosophy 18 (1980): 299-317.
“One Hundred Years of Experimental Psychology: An American Perspective.” Psychological Research 42 (1980): 175-189.
“The Historical Foundation of Herbart’s Mathematization of Psychology.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 16 (1980): 150-163.
“The Intentions and Heritage of Descartes and Locke: Toward a Recognition of the Moral Basis of Modern Psychology.” Journal of General Psychology 102 (1980): 283-310.
“Wundt and After: Psychology’s Shifting Relations with the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Philosophy.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 15 (1979): 231-241.
“The Philosophical Development of the Conception of Psychology in Germany, 1780 1850.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 14 (1978): 113-121.
“Berkeley’s Social Theory: Context and Development.” Journal of the History of Ideas 38 (1977): 635-649.
“A Moralist in an Age of Scientific Analysis and Skepticism: Habit in the Life and Work of William James.” In Tom Sparrow and Adam Hutchinson (Eds.), A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu (pp. 175-206). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013.
"Instead of Erklären and Verstehen: William James on Human Understanding." In Uljana Feest (Ed.), Historical Perspectives on Erklären and Verstehen. (pp. 121-140). New York: Springer Verlag, 2010.
“Objects, Meanings, and Connections in My Life and Career.” In George Yancy and Susan Hadley (Eds.), Narrative Identities: Psychologists Engaged in Self-Construction (pp. 54-72). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005.
“A Profound and Radical Change: How William James Inspired a Reshaping of American Psychology.” In Robert J. Sternberg (Ed.), The Anatomy of Impact: What Makes the Great Works of Psychology Great? (pp. 19-42). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2003.
“Communication, Persuasion, and the Establishment of Academic Disciplines: The Case of American Psychology.” In Richard H. Brown (Ed.), Writing the Social Text: Poetics and Politics in Social Science Discourse (pp. 73-90). New York: Aldine deGruyter, 1992.
“The Cult of Empiricism in Psychology, and Beyond” (co-authored by Stephen Toulmin). In Sigmund Koch and David E. Leary (Eds.), A Century of Psychology as Science (pp. 594-617). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1992.
“Metaphor, Theory, and Practice in the History of Psychology.” In David E. Leary (Ed.), Metaphors in the History of Psychology (pp. 357-367). New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
“Psyche’s Muse: The Role of Metaphor in Psychology.” In David E. Leary (Ed.), Metaphors in the History of Psychology (pp. 1-78). New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
“William James on the Self and Personality: Clearing the Ground for Subsequent Theorists, Researchers, and Practitioners.” In Michael G. Johnson and Tracy B. Henley (Eds.), Reflections on The Principles of Psychology: William James After a Century (pp. 101-137). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1990.
“The Fate and Influence of John Stuart Mill’s Proposed Science of Ethology.” In Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. (Ed.), A History of Psychology: Original Sources and Contemporary Research (pp. 82-89). New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988. (Reprinted from 1982.)
“From Act Psychology to Probabilistic Functionalism: The Place of Egon Brunswik in the History of Psychology.” In Mitchell G. Ash and William R. Woodward (Eds.), Psychology in Twentieth Century Thought and Society (pp. 115-142). New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
“Immanuel Kant and the Development of Modern Psychology.” In William R. Woodward and Mitchell G. Ash, eds., The Problematic Science: Psychology in Nineteenth Century Thought (pp. 17-42). New York: Praeger, 1982.