The Works of William James
Supervised by a team of scholars, each a specialist in his field, The Works of William James fills the long-standing need for an authoritative, standard edition of the philosopher’s works. The General Editor and supervisor of the project is Frederick Burkhardt. Mr. Burkhardt, formerly a professor of philosophy and then a college resident, is President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies. The Textual Editor, Fredson Bowers, Linden Kent Professor of English, Emeritus, at the University of Virginia, is in charge of the establishment of the text and its production according to standards of the Modern Language Association’s Committee on Scholarly Editions. Gold Medalist of the Bibliographical Society, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, Mr. Bower is the author of two books on the theory and practice of textual criticism and editor of several multivolume critical editions. Ignas K. Skrupskelis, the Associate Editor, contributes the substantive notes. He is Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and has conducted extensive research in the James collection.
Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.Sort by title, author, format, publication date, or price »
Despite its title, Psychology: Briefer Course is more than a simple condensation of the great Principles of Psychology. It remains a useful and highly readable introduction to James’s views on psychology and is an essential source for anyone interested in studying all of his psychological writings.
The more than fifty articles, essays, and reviews in this volume, collected here for the first time, were published by William James over a span of some twenty-five years. The record of a sustained interest in phenomena of a highly controversial nature, they make it amply clear that James’s work in psychical research was not an eccentric hobby but a serious and sympathetic concern. Robert A. McDermott, in his Introduction, discusses the relation of these essays to James’s other work in philosophy, psychology, and religion.
This generous omnium-gatherum brings together all the writings William James published that have not appeared in previous volumes of this definitive edition of his works. It includes 25 essays, 44 letters to the editor commenting on sundry topics, and 113 reviews of a wide range of works in English, French, German, and Italian.
When William James died in 1910 he left a large body of manuscript material that has never appeared in print. The most important of these manuscripts are those of the years 1903 and 1904 called “The Many and the One.” The manuscripts in the rest of the volume contain James’s reflections over 40 years in the form of drafts, memoranda, and notebook entries.
This final volume of The Works of William James provides a full record of James’s teaching career at Harvard from 1872–1907. It includes working notes for lectures in more than 20 courses. Because his teaching was closely involved with the development of his thought, this material adds a new dimension to our understanding of his philosophy.
The 29 articles, essays, and reviews in this volume, collected here for the first time, were published by William James over a long span of years, from 1878 (twelve years prior to The Principles of Psychology) to 1906. Some are theoretical; others examine specific psychological phenomena or report the results of experiments James had conducted.
Pragmatism is the most famous single work of American philosophy. Its sequel, The Meaning of Truth, is its imperative and inevitable companion. The definitive texts of both works by William James are here available for the first time in one volume, with an introduction by the distinguished contemporary philosopher A. J. Ayer.
Despite the modesty of its title, the publication of this book in 1899 was a significant event. It marked the first application of the relatively new discipline of psychology, and specifically of James’s theses in The Principles of Psychology, to educational theory and classroom practice. Among its innovative features were James’s maxims “No reception without reaction” and “No impression without expression”; a new emphasis on the biology of behavior and on the role of instincts; and discussions of the relevance to elementary school education of what is known about will, attention, memory, apperception, and the association of ideas.
Essays in Philosophy brings together twenty-one essays, reviews, and occasional pieces published by James between 1876 and 1910. They range in subject from a concern with the teaching of philosophy and appraisals of philosophers to analyses of important problems. Whether he is writing an article for the Nation of a definition of “Experience” for Baldwin’s Dictionary or “The Mad Absolute” for the Journal of Philosophy, James is always unmistakably himself, and always readable.
In Pragmatism, William James attacked the transcendental, rationalist tradition in philosophy and tried to clear the ground for the doctrine he called radical empiricism. The book caused an uproar. Determined to clarify the pragmatic conception of truth, James collected nine essays he had written on this subject before he wrote Pragmatism and six written later in response to criticisms of that volume by Bertrand Russell and others. He published the collection under the title “The Meaning of Truth” in 1909, the year before his death.
“It is absolutely the only philosophy with no humbug in it,” an exhilarated William James wrote to a friend early in 1907. Both the acclaim and outcry that greeted Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking helped to affirm James’s conviction. It was in Pragmatism that he confronted older philosophic methods with the “pragmatic” method, demanding that ideas be tested by their relation to life and their effects in experience. James’s conclusions have exerted a profound influence on philosophy in this century, and the book remains a landmark.
William James’s last book was published after his death in 1910. For years he had talked of rounding out his philosophical work with a treatise on metaphysics. He chose to do so in the form of an introduction to the problems of philosophy, because writing for beginners would force him to be nontechnical and readable. Although this is James’s most systematic and abstract work, it has all the lucidity of his more popular writings. Through analysis of the fundamental problems of Being, the relation of thoughts to things, novelty, causation, and the Infinite, the reader is introduced to the original philosophical synthesis that James called radical empiricism.
The Varieties of Religious Experience, first delivered as the Gifford Lectures in Edinburgh, was published in 1902 and quickly established itself as a classic. It ranks with its great predecessor, The Principles of Psychology, as one of William James’s masterworks.
The publication in 1890 of William James’s acknowledged masterpiece marked a turning point in the development of psychology as a science in America. The Principles of Psychology appears now in a new, handsome edition with an authoritative text that corrects the hundreds of errors, some very serious, that have been perpetuated over the years. Volume III includes extensive notes, appendixes, textual apparatus, and a general index.
This book marked a turning point in the development of psychology as a science in America. It has become a source of inspiration in philosophy, literature, and the arts. Its stature undiminished after 91 years, it appears now in a new edition with an authoritative text correcting hundreds of errors that have been perpetuated over the years.