The Heart of William James

The Heart of William James


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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'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 "What Is an Emotion," James'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 "The Moral Equivalent of War," 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 "The Dilemma of Determinism," "The Hidden Self," "Habit," and "The Will"; in chapters from The Principles of Psychology and The Varieties of Religious Experience; and in such pieces as "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings," "What Makes a Life Significant," and "Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results," we witness the evolution of James's philosophical thinking, his pragmatism, and his radical empiricism. Throughout, Richardson's deeply informed introductions place James'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--and as this book makes abundantly clear, William James's writings are still the gateway to many a new world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674065994
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/03/2012
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 354,006
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

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

Table of Contents

Introduction Robert Richardson ix

Note on the Texts xix

Chronology of William James's Life xxi

1 What Is an Emotion? 1

2 The Dilemma of Determinism 20

3 The Perception of Reality 46

4 The Hidden Self 79

5 Habit 101

6 The Will 116

7 The Gospel of Relaxation 130

8 On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings 145

9 What Makes a Life Significant 164

10 Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results 183

11 The Philippine Tangle 203

12 The Sick Soul 209

13 The Ph.D. Octopus 238

14 Does 'Consciousness' Exist? 247

15 The Energies of Men 263

16 Concerning Fechner 281

17 The Moral Equivalent of War 301

Notes 315

Further Reading 333

Acknowledgments 335

Index 339

What People are Saying About This

James T. Kloppenberg

A gift from the best biographer of William James, this volume collects some of James's most engaging and unforgettable writings. Readers unfamiliar with James will discover why his ideas continue to reverberate so powerfully a century after his death; those who already know James will delight in Robert Richardson's expert selections and incisive commentary. At a time when self-proclaimed followers of James's philosophy inhabit schools of medicine and law as well as divinity, and his ideas inspire those working in sites ranging from psychology laboratories and corporate board rooms to the White House, this sparkling collection reminds us why James remains alive today.
James T. Kloppenberg, Harvard University

Cornel West

William James brought heart to the intellect and passion to the world of ideas in an unprecedented manner in American life. He is the most profound, adorable, and unpretentious public intellectual in American history.
Cornel West, Princeton University

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