Essays in Religion and Morality brings together a dozen papers of varying length to these two themes so crucial to the life and thought of William James. Reflections on the two subjects permeate, first, James’s presentation of his father’s Literary Remains; second, his writings on human immortality and the relation between reason and faith; third, his two memorial pieces, one on Robert Gould Shaw and the other on Emerson; fourth, his consideration of the energies and powers of human life; and last, his writings on the possibilities of peace, especially as found in his famous essay “The Moral Equivalent of War.”
These speeches and essays were written over a period of twenty-four years. The fact that James did not collect and publish them himself in a single volume does not reflect on their intrinsic worth or on their importance in James’s philosophical work, since they include some of the best known and most influential of his writings. All the essays, throughout their varied subject matter, are consistently and characteristically Jamesian in the freshness of their attack on the problems and failings of humankind and in their steady faith in human powers.