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The Heart of William James

The Heart of William James

William James

Edited by Robert D. Richardson

ISBN 9780674065994

Publication date: 09/03/2012

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William James

Robert Richardson

On the one hundredth anniversary of the death of , , 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.

Praise

  • 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

Author

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

Book Details

  • 368 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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