Manuscript Lectures

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Harvard University Press, 1988 - Literary Criticism - 686 pages

This final volume of The Works of William James provides a full record of James's teaching career at Harvard from 1872 to 1907. It includes extensive working notes for lectures in more than twenty courses. Some of the notes contain summary statements of views of James's that have never been published before, such as his treatment of the question of proof in ethics, in the only course he ever taught in that subject; others reflect contemporary controversies in philosophy, notably the famous debate on Idealism and the nature of the Absolute; still others illuminate early stages of James's thinking on crucial problems in what was to become his philosophy of radical empiricism. Often the notes yield information about his sources that is not to be found in the published writings. Because James's teaching was so closely involved with the development of his thought, this unpublished material adds a new dimension to our understanding of his philosophy.

James's public lectures gained him world renown, and most of them were subsequently published. There are, however, several sets of notes for and drafts of important lectures that he never wrote out for publication; these are included in the present volume. Among them are his two series of lectures in 1878 on the physiology of the brain and its relation to the mind; the Lowell Lectures of 1896 on exceptional mental states; and the lectures of 1902 on intellect and feeling in religions, which were designed to supplement Varieties of Religious Experience and were intended to be his last word on the psychology of religion.


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Manuscript Lectures
Lowell Lectures on The Brain and the Mind 1878
Notes for a Lecture on The Physiological Effects
Summer School of Theology Lectures on Intellect
Drafts and Notes for Addresses to Graduate Clubs
The Philosophy of Evolution
Notes on Conclusions of Lotze Course 18971898 259 21 Notes on Conclusions of Lotze Course 18971898
Metaphysical SeminaryA
Metaphysics 19041905
Metaphysics 19051906
Lectures at Stanford 1906

Psychology 18801881
General Introduction
Descartes Spinoza
Psychological Seminary
Psychological SeminaryThe
Notes on Stouts Analytic Psychology for Psychology
Notes of the 1906 Summer School of Theology
Syllabus in Philosophy and Syllabus
A Note on the Editorial Method

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About the author (1988)

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.

Ignas K. Skrupskelis is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and a lecturer at Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania.

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