William James had the courage to experience the collision of European and American ways of thinking head on, and to emerge from it with a new philosophy - one displaying a remarkable vitality for dealing with the transformative issues at the core of the human condition. This easy to read introduction to his life and work explains why James' work is overwhelmingly valuable to us today in getting to grips with the spiritual dimension of human experience.
The Essential William James covers the primary topics for which James is still closely studied: the nature of experience, the functions of the mind, the criteria for knowledge, the definition of “truth,” the ethical life, and the religious life. His notable terms, still resonating in their respective fields, are all covered here, from “stream of consciousness” and “pure experience” to the “will to believe,” the “cash-value of truth,” and the distinction between the religiously “healthy soul” and the “sick (...) soul.” This volume’s eighteen selections receive the bulk of the attention and citation from scholars, provide excellent coverage of core topics, and have a broad appeal across many academic disciplines. (shrink)
In his introduction to this collection, John representative. McDermott presents James's thinking in all its manifestations, stressing the importance of radical empiricism and placing into perspective the doctrines of pragmatism and the will to believe. The critical periods of James's life are highlighted to illuminate the development of his philosophical and psychological thought. The anthology features representive selections from The Principles of Psychology, The Will to Believe , and The Variety of Religious Experience in addition to the complete (...) Essays in Radical Empiricism and A Pluralistic Universe . The original 1907 edition of Pragmatism is included, as well as classic selections from all of James's other major works. Of particular significance for James scholarship is the supplemented version of Ralph Barton Perry's Annotated Bibliography of the Writings of William James , with additions bringing it up to 1976. (shrink)
When William James spoke about belief to the philosophy clubs of Yale and Brown in 1896, he forewarned his audience of the nature of his comments by describing them as a “sermon on justification by faith” (James 13), titling the talk “The Will to Believe.” Although there is disagreement about the substance of James’s remarks, it is fairly innocuous to assert that James thought they were appropriate because of the prevalence of the “logical spirit” of many (...) of those who practiced academic philosophy that led them to the conclusion that religious faith was untenable. Aware of his audience, James presents his view on the permissibility of religious faith on the terms and grounds familiar to professional philosophers. .. (shrink)
Noted psychologist and philosopher develops his own brand of pragmatism, based on theories of C. S. Peirce. Emphasis on "radical empiricism," versus the transcendental and rationalist tradition. One of the most important books in American philosophy. Note.
The status of the body figures paradoxically in the interrelated discourses of whiteness, aesthetic taste, and hipness. While Richard Dyer’s analysis of whiteness argues that white identity is “in but not of the body,” Carolyn Korsmeyer’s and Julia Kristeva’s feminist analyses of aesthetic “taste” demonstrate that this faculty is traditionally conceived as something “of” but not “in” the body. While taste directly distances whiteness from embodiment, hipness negatively affirms this same distance: the hipster proves his elite status within white culture (...) by positioning himself as, in the words of James Chance’s song title, “Almost Black.” The notion of hip contributes to my analysis of taste by focusing on both the gender politics of white embodiment, and how, by taking the social body as object of the prepositions “in” and “of,” these discourses of taste and hipness produce individual bodies as white, and maintain Whiteness as a socio-political norm. (shrink)
What is an emotion? -- The dilemma of determinism -- The perception of reality -- The hidden self -- Habit -- The will -- The gospel of relaxation -- On a certain blindness in human beings -- What makes a life significant -- Philosophical conceptions and practical results -- The Philippine tangle -- The sick soul -- The Ph. D. octopus -- Does "consciousness" exist? -- The energies of men -- Concerning Fechner -- The moral equivalent of war.
This paper addresses the project of philosophical autobiography, using two different perspectives. On the one hand, the societal, economic, and family contexts of William James are addressed, and connected a modern academic context of business ethics research, marketing and purchasing decision making, and the continuing financial crisis. The concepts of “stream of consciousness” and “acting as-if” are connected to recent literature on William James. On the other hand, the significance of family context, and the possible connection between the (...) William James family and the author, is addressed through shared family narratives interspersed throughout the paper. (shrink)
As research into identity in the information society gets into its stride, with contributions from many scholarly disciplines such as technology, social sciences, the humanities and the law, a moment of intellectual stocktaking seems appropriate. This article seeks to provide a roadmap of research currently undertaken in the field of identity and identity management showing how the area is developing and how disparate contributions relate to each other. Five different perspectives are proposed through which work in the identity field can (...) be seen: tensions, themes, application areas, research focus and disciplinary approaches and taken together they provide a comprehensive overview of the intellectual territory currently being tilled by academia on this subject. This attempt at a coherent overview is offered in the spirit of debate and discussion, and the authors invite criticism, development and improvement. Another purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to the range and type of research that the new journal Identity in the Information Society will publish, giving researchers working in the field a clearer idea of the scope of multidisciplinary study that is envisaged. (shrink)
Two fundamental paradigms are in conflict. Expert systems are the creation of the artificial intelligence paradigm which presumes that an objective reality can be understood and controlled by an individual expert intelligence that can be replaced by machinery. The alternative paradigm assumes that reality is the subjective product of human beings striving to collaborate through shared norms and experiences, a process that can be assisted by but never replaced by computers. The first paradigm is appropriate in the domains of natural (...) science and mathematics but dangerous in social sciencet business and, especially, the law. Expert systems are constructed on the basis of a number of metaphysical assumptions that are invalid in the legal domain. These assumptions are assimilated through a number ofcommonplace metaphors that guide the thoughts of the majority of people entering the computing field who are usually trained in first paradigm subjects such as mathematics and the natural science. This inappropriate paradigm hinders our progress in the field of computers and law. We need to adopt a socially orientated view of tbe nature of reality, of language, of meaning, of intelligence, and of reasoning. It will be easier then to build computer systems to facilitate social interactions in the legal domain and easier to understand why boxes that try to imitate legal expertise are intrinsically fraudulent. (shrink)
v. 1. William and Henry, 1861-1884 -- v. 2. William and Henry, 1885-1896 -- v. 3. William and Henry, 1897-1910 -- v. 4. 1856-1877 -- v. 5. 1878-1884 -- v. 6. 1885-1889 -- v. 7. 1890-1894 -- v. 8. 1895-June 1899 -- v. 9. July 1899-1901 -- v. 10. 1902-March 1905 -- v. 11. April 1905-March 1908 -- v. 12. April 1908-August 1910.
What at bottom is meant by calling the universe many or by calling it one? -/- Pragmatically interpreted, pluralism or the doctrine that it is many means only that the sundry parts of reality may be externally related. Everything you can think of, however vast or inclusive, has on the pluralistic view a genuinely "external" environment of some sort or amount. Things are "with" one another in many ways, but nothing includes everything, or dominates over everything. The word "and" trails (...) along after every sentence. Something always escapes. "Ever not quite" has to be said of the best attempts made anywhere in the universe at attaining all-inclusiveness. The pluralistic world is thus more like a federal republic than like an empire or a kingdom. However much may be collected, however much may report itself as present at any effective centre of consciousness or action, something else is self-governed and absent and unreduced to unity. -/- Monism, on the other hand, insists that when you come down to reality as such, to the reality of realities, everything is present to everything else in one vast instantaneous co-implicated completeness -- nothing can in any sense, functional or substantial, be really absent from anything else, all things interpenetrate and telescope together in the great total conflux. (shrink)
The war against war is going to be no holiday excursion or camping party. The military feelings are too deeply grounded to abdicate their place among our ideals until better substitutes are offered than the glory and shame that come to nations as well as to individuals from the ups and downs of politics and the vicissitudes of trade. There is something highly paradoxical in the modern man's relation to war. Ask all our millions, north and south, whether they would (...) vote now (were such a thing possible) to have our war for the Union expunged from history, and the record of a peaceful transition to the present time substituted for that of its marches and battles, and probably hardly a handful of eccentrics would say yes. Those ancestors, those efforts, those memories and legends, are the most ideal part of what we now own together, a sacred spiritual possession worth more than all the blood poured out. Yet ask those same people whether they would be willing, in cold blood, to start another civil war now to gain another similar possession, and not one man or woman would vote for the proposition. In modern eyes, precious though wars may be they must not be waged solely for the sake of the ideal harvest. Only when forced upon one, is a war now thought permissible. -/- It was not thus in ancient times. The earlier men were hunting men, and to hunt a neighboring tribe, kill the males, loot the village and possess the females, was the most profitable, as well as the most exciting, way of living. Thus were the more martial tribes selected, and in chiefs and peoples a pure pugnacity and love of glory came to mingle with the more fundamental appetite for plunder. (shrink)
he rest of the world has made merry over the Chicago man's legendary saying that 'Chicago hasn't had time: to get round to culture yet, but when she does strike her, she'll make her hum.' Already the prophecy is fulfilling itself in a dazzling manner. Chicago has a School of Thought! -- a school of thought which, it is safe to predict, will figure in literature as the School of Chicago for twenty-five years to come. Some universities have plenty of (...) thought to show, but no school; others plenty of school, but no thought. The University of Chicago, by its Decennial, Publications, shows real thought and a real school. Professor John Dewey, and at least ten of his disciples, have collectively put into the world a statement, homogeneous in spite of so many coöperating minds, of a view of the world, both theoretical and ~practical, which is so simple, massive, and positive that, in spite of the fact that many parts of it yet need to be worked out, it deserves the title of a new system of philosophy. If it be as true as it is original, its publication must be reckoned an important event. The present reviewer, for one, strongly suspects it of being true. (shrink)
Louis Agassiz.--Address at the Emerson Centenary in Concord.--Robert Gould Shaw.--Francis Boott.--Thomas Davidson: a knight-errant of the intellectual life.--Herbert Spencer's autobiography.--Frederick Myers' services to psychology.--Final impressions of a psychical researcher.--On some mental effects of the earthquake.--The energies of men.--The moral equivalent of war.--Remarks at the peace banquet.--The social value of the college-bred.--The university and the individual: The Ph.D. octopus. The true Harvard. Stanford's ideal destiny.--A pluralistic mystic.
The original 1907 text of James' Pragmatism is accompanied with a series of critical essays from scholars including Moore and Russell. In the introduction Olin evaluates the strength of the criticisms made against James.
The relationship between William James and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) has recently been the subject of intense scholarly research. We know for instance that the later Wittgenstein's reflections on the philosophy of psychology found in James a major source of inspiration. Not surprisingly therefore, the pragmatist nature of the philosophy of the later Wittgenstein is increasingly acknowledged, in spite of Wittgenstein’s adamant refusal of being labeled a “pragmatist”. In this brief paper I merely want to piece together some of (...) the available evidence of Wittgenstein’s high regard for William James, not only for his thoughts, but even more so for his character. (shrink)
The radical empiricism of William James was first formally presented in his seminal papers of 1904, 'Does Consciousness Exist?' and 'A World of Pure Experience'. In James's view, pure experience was to serve as the source for psychology's primary data and radical empiricism was to launch an effective critique of experimentalism in psychology, a critique from which the problem of experimentalism within science could be addressed more broadly. This collection of papers presents James's formal statements on radical (...) empiricism and a representative sample of contemporary responses from psychologists and philosophers. With only a few exceptions, these responses indicate just how badly James was misread - psychologists ignoring the heart of James's message and philosophers transforming James's metaphysics into something quite unintelligible to the emerging generation of experimental psychologists. (shrink)
In this short paper I try to present William James’s connection with the Argentinian writer Macedonio Fernández (1874-1952), who was in some sense a mentor of Borges and might be considered the missing link between Borges and James.
Our aim in this article, after providing the general framework of the reception of William James in Spain, is to trace the reception of The Varieties of Religious Experience through Unamuno’s reading of this book.
The year of the centennial of the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges is probably the right time to exhume one of the links that this universal writer had with William James. In 1945, Emece, a publisher from Buenos Aires, printed a Spanish translation of William James’s book Pragmatism, with a foreword by Jorge Luis Borges.
This is a study of all the recent literature on william james written from a phenomenological perspective with the purpose of showing that william james made fundamental contributions to the phenomenological theory of the intentionality of consciousness, To the phenomenological theory of self-Identity, And to the phenomenological conception of noetic freedom as the basic concept of ethical theory.
William James is notorious for the large number of inconsistencies and at least apparent contradictions in his writings. Many readers conclude that he should be appreciated more for his profound but erratic insights than for any coherent philosophical perspective. Ellen Kappy Suckiel disagrees. She argues that James is far more careful and systematic than many readers realize. Her work on James is guided by the attempt to lay bare his coherent philosophical vision and the consistent philosophical methodology (...) underlying it. As a result of this approach, Suckiel's work on James is both sympathetic to his philosophical insights and carefully argued. In her first book, The Pragmatic Philosophy of William James (1982), Suckiel applies this approach to James's philosophy as a whole. The result is a work of remarkable clarity and insight that serves as a wonderful introduction to James's thought. In her more recent book, Suckiel applies this approach specifically to James's philosophy of religion, with similar felicitous results. Heaven's... (shrink)
William James' Radical Empiricist essays offer a unique and powerful argument for direct realism about our perceptions of objects. This theory can be completed with some observations by Kant on the intellectual preconditions for a perceptual judgment. Finally James and Kant deliver a powerful blow to the representational theory of perception and knowledge, which applies quite broadly to theories of representation generally.