William James Quotes

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William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist who was also trained as a physician. The first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States, James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, while others have labelled him the “Father of American psychology”.

Along with Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey, James is considered to be one of the major figures associated with the philosophical school known as pragmatism, and is also cited as one of the founders of functional psychology. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked James as the 14th most cited psychologist of the 20th century. He also developed the philosophical perspective known as radical empiricism. James’ work has influenced intellectuals such as Émile Durkheim, W. E. B. Du Bois, Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty, and has even influenced Presidents, such as Jimmy Carter.

Born into a wealthy family, James was the son of the Swedenborgian theologian Henry James Sr. and the brother of both the prominent novelist Henry James, and the diarist Alice James. James wrote widely on many topics, including epistemology, education, metaphysics, psychology, religion, and mysticism. Among his most influential books are The Principles of Psychology, which was a groundbreaking text in the field of psychology, Essays in Radical Empiricism, an important text in philosophy, and The Varieties of Religious Experience, which investigated different forms of religious experience, which also included the then theories on mind-cure. Wikipedia

The Varieties of Religious
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Standing at the crossroads of psychology and religion, this catalyzing work applied the scientific method to a field abounding in abstract theory. William James believed that individual religious experiences, rather than the precepts of organized religions, were the bac...
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William James : Writings 1902-1910
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Philosopher and psychologist William James was the best known and most influential American thinker of his time. The five books and nineteen essays collected in this Library of America volume represent all his major work from 1902 until his death in 1910. Most were orig...
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The Principles of Psychology,
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This is the first inexpensive edition of the complete Long Course in Principles of Psychology, one of the great classics of modern Western literature and science and the source of the ripest thoughts of America’s most important philosopher. As such, it should not be c...
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Pragmatism and Other Writings
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The writings of William James represent one of America's most original contributions to the history of ideas. Ranging from philosophy and psychology to religion and politics, James composed the most engaging formulation of American pragmatism. 'Pragmatism' grew out of a...
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Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

— William James

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

— William James

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.

— William James

Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.

— William James

I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.

— William James

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

— William James

We do not laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.

— William James