From father to son: generative care and gradual conversion in William James's writing ofThe Varieties
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Moral Education 32 (4):329-340 (2003)
Using a historical and biographical, then developmental, approach, this article examines William James's spiritual family history by reviewing key events in the life of his father, Henry James, Sr. It pays particular attention to Henry Sr's tumultuous relationship with his own father, William James of Albany, and Henry Sr's subsequent conversion to the religious thought of Emmanuel Swedenborg. James's writing of The Varieties of Religious Experience can be seen as integral to his moral and religious development; that is, it functioned as an extended process of conversion that permitted him to distance himself from a rational, scientific identity. In search of the deeper emotional satisfaction and in loyalty to the two paternal ancestors, James's redefined himself, dramatically expanding his own generative legacy
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