William James

William James Psychology

Franklin Library William James books

Pragmatism - 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature - 1982
Psychology - 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature - 1983

The Principles of Psychology - Great Books of the Western World - 1985

Gryphon Editions William James books

The Principles of Psychology by William James (2 volumes) - Classics of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - 1988
The Varieties of Religious Experience : A Study in Human Nature - Classics of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - 1992

William James biography

William James (1842-1910) was an American psychologist and philosopher who was born in New York City. His father was the theologian Henry James and his brother was the famous American author Henry James. William James was educated at Harvard Medical School and University. After interrupting his studies in 1869, he traveled to South America and explored the Amazon River. Following time spent studying philosophy and psychology in Germany, he returned to the United States and received an M.D. degree at Harvard Medical School. Within four years of receiving his M.D. he was appointed to the faculty of Harvard Medical School. William James taught physiology and anatomy in his early years on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, and later taught psychology and philosophy.

The monumental book The Principles of Psychology by William James was published in 1890 and established him as one of the most influential psychologists of the time. The Principles of Psychology advanced the principle of functionalism in psychology, and helped to establish psychology as a separate discipline from philosophy. This advancement resulted in psychology being placed among the medical sciences which use experimental methods. Over the following decade William James applied empirical methods of inquiry the questions of religion and philosophy. Many of the questions he studied include the existence of God, free will, and immortality of the soul. His opinions of these issues are expressed in the following collections of lectures and essays by William James:
The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy - 1897
Human Immortality - 1998
Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life's Ideals - 1899
The Varieties of Religious Experience - 1902 (Religious leaders especially welcomed The Varieties of Religious Experience because it justified their beliefs through science.)
The famous later lectures published in 1907 as Pragmatism :
A New Name for Old Ways of Thinking by William James focused on his epoch making theory of the method of pragmatism. It was the physicist Charles S. Pierce who first used the term pragmatism, however it was William James who first developed it from a critique of the logical basis of science into a critique of all experience. He maintained that ideas are only valuable based upon their usefulness and consequence.

In the final published works of William James, Essays in Radical Empiricism - 1912, he spoke against ideals of the world being explained by mystic forces that explain the relation of events and things. He expressed that the relationships between events and things are as real as the events and things themselves.

In the later years of William James' life, he was established as a psychologist and philosopher of great influence around the world. He was recognized as an originator of new theories in both psychology and philosophy. John Dewey continued to develop William James' theories on pragmatism, and Albert Einstein made his theories on relationships between events and things seem prophetic.

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