He studied at the Independent College Taunton, at Regent's Park College, Oxford, in Göttingen and at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Originally he wanted Nonconformist clergyman, but in 1871 decided on a literary and philosophical career. From 1892 to 1903 he was professor of philosophy at University College London. He was succeeded by Carveth Read.
Sully led since 1881, stimulated by the publication of Charles Darwin's Children 1877 observations, the development of psychology in England. He bought the experimental psychological laboratory of Hugo Münsterberg on, as was appointed in 1897 by Freiburg at Harvard University and called William McDougall from Göttingen to take care of the experimental psychology. Sully was a supporter of the association psychology and had many similarities with the views of Alexander Bain on.
- Illusions (1881, 4th edition 1895)
- Outlines of Psychology (1884, many editions )
- Teacher's Handbook of Psychology (1886 )
- The Human Mind. A Textbook of Psychology. London: Longmans, Green & Co ( 1892)
- Studies of Childhood (1895 ) Studies of childhood, Leipzig: Wunderlich ( 1897 ² 1905)
- University teachers (University College London)
- Developmental psychologist
- Born in 1842
- Died in 1923