Writings, 1878-1899

Front Cover
Library of America, 1992 - Literary Collections - 1212 pages
2 Reviews
William James, a member of America's most illustrious intellectual family, is widely acclaimed as the country's foremost philosopher, the first of its psychologists, and a champion of religious pluralism. As the apostle of pragmatism, his influence on American thought is as strong now as it has ever been. James's emphasis on the creative power of faith, will, and action, his opening up of philosophy to the fresh air of ordinary experience, his fascination with alternative forms of belief and states of consciousness, and his impatience with dogmas of any kind--all make him a defender of individual experience, and earn him a place beside Emerson and Whitman as an exponent of American democratic culture.
In this volume are the brilliant, engagingly written works of James's early and middle years. The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy advances the liberating argument that each of us has the right to believe in hypotheses that are not susceptible to proof and that such beliefs might actually change the world. The conversational style of these essays reflects their origin in public lectures, as well as James's conviction that truth can be discovered as much in the course of everyday life as in the activities of science or of philosophical speculation.
Talks to Teachers and to Students, also drawn from lectures, helped transform the emerging science of education. Here James applies his new psychology to classroom theory and conduct, especially for the primary grades. This immensely influential book has never gone out of print. It emphasizes the role in learning of instinct, play, and habit, along with the importance of engaging the voluntary interests of students. James's warm and sympathetic nature informs his treatment of children, who can best be taught by those who respect the child's autonomy and who avoid what he calls "hammering in."
Psychology: Briefer Course is far more than a shortened version of his monumental Principles of Psychology. It significantly revises parts of the earlier work and adds important new materials. (Students liked to call the longer book "James" and the shorter one "Jimmy".) James's new psychology moved away from discussions of the soul, morality, and logic, and focused instead on instinct, will, and the importance of action and habit. Passages comparing human consciousness to "a wonderful stream" inspired the "stream of consciousness" in the future work of Joyce, Woolf, and Gertrude Stein, a student of James's at Harvard.
"Human Immortality," which defends the possibility of life after death, and eight more of James's most important essays round out this second volume devoted to a writer who was called by John Dewey "almost a Columbus of the inner world."
  

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Review: Writings, 1878-1899

User Review  - Steven Wright - Goodreads

This book , although composed in 1892, accurately predicts the neuroplasticity of the brain Read full review

Review: Writings, 1878-1899

User Review  - Andy - Goodreads

Mr. James has, for me, the same ability as Nabakov (but of course with a different style) in that he finds just the right words to capture the everyday-mystery of what we are. He writes about normal ... Read full review

Contents

CHAPTER I
11
CHAPTER II
18
CHAPTER III
35
CHAPTER IV
54
Briefer Course I
56
CHAPTER V
67
THE SELF
174
CHAPTER XIII
210
CHAPTER XXVI
387
EPILOGUE
427
INDEX
435
ON SOME IlBuhLisMS 053
512
Talks to Teachers on Psychology
703
WHAT PSYCHICAL RESEARCH HAS ACCOMPLISHED
680
Selected Essays 889
918
INDEX 701
930

CHAPTER XIV
229
CHAPTER XXI
316
CHAPTER XXII
347
INSTINCT
366
Chronology
1139
Note on the Texts
1168
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Older brother of novelist Henry James, William James (1842-1910) was a philosopher, psychologist, physiologist, and professor at Harvard. James has influenced such twentieth-century thinkers as Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermans, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva.