The Heart of William James

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, Aug 31, 2010 - Philosophy - 342 pages
3 Reviews

On the one hundredth anniversary of the death of William James, Robert Richardson, author of the magisterial William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism, assembles a wide-ranging selection of essays and writings that reveal the evolution of James‚e(tm)s thought over time, especially as it was continually being shaped by the converging influences of psychology, philosophy, and religion throughout his life.

Proceeding chronologically, the volume begins with ‚eoeWhat Is an Emotion,‚e James‚e(tm)s early, notable, and still controversial argument that many of our emotions follow from (rather than cause) physical or physiological reactions. The book concludes with ‚eoeThe Moral Equivalent of War,‚e one of the greatest anti-war pieces ever written, perhaps even more relevant now than when it was first published. In between, in essays on ‚eoeThe Dilemma of Determinism,‚e ‚eoeThe Hidden Self,‚e ‚eoeHabit,‚e and ‚eoeThe Will‚e; in chapters from The Principles of Psychology and The Varieties of Religious Experience; and in such pieces as ‚eoeOn a Certain Blindness in Human Beings,‚e ‚eoeWhat Makes a Life Significant,‚e and ‚eoePhilosophical Conceptions and Practical Results,‚e we witness the evolution of James‚e(tm)s philosophical thinking, his pragmatism, and his radical empiricism. Throughout, Richardson‚e(tm)s deeply informed introductions place James‚e(tm)s work in its proper biographical, historical, and philosophical context.

In essay after essay, James calls us to live a fuller, richer, better life, to seek out and use our best energies and sympathies. As every day is the day of creation and judgment, so every age was once the new age‚e"and as this book makes abundantly clear, William James‚e(tm)s writings are still the gateway to many a new world.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - danawl - LibraryThing

A collection of essays by a fascinating philospher on a wide range of subjects. His excessive verbosity can be off-putting and his mores dated but I found this a hearty meal and well worth the slog. Read full review

Review: The Heart of William James

User Review  - Alex - Goodreads

William James is one of my favorite people of all time, and yet he is not well known. I want more people to know about this man. What a brain! His ideas are inspiring and so thought-provoking. Read full review


What Is an Emotion?
The Dilemma of Determinism
The Perception of Reality
The Hidden Self
The Will
The Gospel of Relaxation
On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings
The Philippine Tangle
The Sick Soul
The Ph D Octopus
Does Consciousness Exist?
Concerning Fechner
The Moral Equivalent of War
Further Reading

What Makes a Life Significant
Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results

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About the author (2010)

WILLIAM JAMES was a prolific photojournalist who took more than 10,000 images of Toronto during the early twentieth century.

Robert Richardson is an independent scholar who has taught at the University of Denver, Harvard University, and several other schools.

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