Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, 1915

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Kessinger Publishing, Jul 1, 2003 - Philosophy - 352 pages
9 Reviews
It seemed to the author that these addresses might be worthy of collection into a volume as they shed explanatory light upon each other, and taken together they express a tolerably definite philosophic attitude in a very untechnical way. Contents: will to believe; is life worth living; sentiment of rationality; reflex action and theism; dilemma of determinism; moral philosopher and the moral life; great men and their environment; on some hegelisms; what psychical research has accomplished.

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Review: The Will to Believe, Human Immortality, and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy

User Review  - Alex Kartelias - Goodreads

I would say the first three essays- the will to believe, is life worth living and the sentiment of rationality- are his best. In the will to believe, James gives a practical justification for having ... Read full review

Review: The Will to Believe, Human Immortality, and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy

User Review  - Andrew Anony - Goodreads

Rating is just for 'The Will to Believe' - will update if I read more of the essays. James states in his Pragmatism that abstract arguments are only important if choosing one or the other leads to a ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

William James, oldest of five children (including Henry James and Alice James) in the extraordinary James family, was born in New York City on January 11, 1842. He has had a far-reaching influence on writers and thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Broadly educated by private tutors and through European travel, James initially studied painting. During the Civil War, however, he turned to medicine and physiology, attended Harvard medical school, and became interested in the workings of the mind. His text, The Principles of Psychology (1890), presents psychology as a science rather than a philosophy and emphasizes the connection between the mind and the body. James believed in free will and the power of the mind to affect events and determine the future. In The Will to Believe (1897) and The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), he explores metaphysical concepts and mystical experiences. He saw truth not as absolute but as relative, depending on the given situation and the forces at work in it. He believed that the universe was not static and orderly but ever-changing and chaotic. His most important work, Pragmatism (1907), examines the practical consequences of behavior and rejects the idealist philosophy of the transcendentalists. This philosophy seems to reinforce the tenets of social Darwinism and the idea of financial success as the justification of the means in a materialistic society; nevertheless, James strove to demonstrate the practical value of ethical behavior. Overall, James's lifelong concern with what he called the "stream of thought" or "stream of consciousness" changed the way writers conceptualize characters and present the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. He died due to heart failure on August 26, 1910.

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