James, William

   An American psychologist philosopher and brother to novelist Henry, William James did his early work primarily in psychology, culminating in The Principles of Psychology (1890). Following C. S. Peirce, James is also known for his defence of pragmatism. But, while Peirce invoked a pragmatic principle for the application of ideas as a rule for meaning, James controversially argued for a pragmatic theory of truth (the theory that something is true if and only if it would be useful to believe it), a view for which he has been roundly criticised. James also made important contributions to religious thought. In The Will to Believe (1897) James counters W. K. Clifford's claim that religious belief is irrational because of lack of evidence. On the contrary, James argues, in certain circumstances we face a genuine (rational) option for belief even in the absence of evidence, so long as the hypothesis is living (possibly true for the person), forced (such that one must choose for or against it) and momentous (of great implication). The choice between theism and agnosticism represents such a choice. In his Gifford Lectures (1901-2), The Varieties of Religious Experience, James chronicles numerous vivid first-hand accounts of religious experience that he uses to establish his thesis that religion is justified by its transformative effect on individual human lives.
   Further reading: James 1920, 1975-, 1979 and 1981

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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  • James,William — James, William. 1842 1910. American psychologist and philosopher. A founder of pragmatism and functionalism, he developed an approach to intellectual issues that greatly influenced American thought. His works include The Principles of Psychology… …   Universalium

  • James, William — American pragmatism James J.E.Tiles THE BERKELEY LECTURE Pragmatism was introduced to society in a lecture given by William James1 to the Philosophical Union at the University of California in Berkeley on 26 August 1898.2 In his lecture James… …   History of philosophy

  • James, William — born Jan. 11, 1842, New York, N.Y., U.S. died Aug. 26, 1910, Chocorua, N.H. U.S. philosopher and psychologist. Son of the philosophical writer Henry James (1811–82) and brother of the novelist Henry James, he studied medicine at Harvard, where he …   Universalium

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  • James, William — ► (1842 1910) Filósofo y psicólogo estadounidense. Coautor con Lange de la famosa teoría periférica de las emociones («no lloramos porque estamos tristes, sino que estamos tristes porque lloramos»). Es el creador del pragmatismo. * * * (11 ene.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • James, William — (1842–1910) American psychologist and philosopher. James was born into a wealthy New York family, and surrounded from an early age by a humanitarian, literary, and scholarly family life (his father was a theologian, and his brother the novelist… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • JAMES, William — (1842 1910)    Brother of the American novelist Henry JAMES (1843 1916) whose Father was a SWEDENBORGIAN theologian. James was successively professor of psychology (1889 1897) and philosophy (1897 1907) at Harvard University. His book The… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • James, William — (1842 1910) An American philosopher of the pragmatist school, notable mainly for his unusual accomplishment in significantly influencing the development both of neo positivism and symbolic interactionism , via his view that the empirical… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • James, William —    LL.D., etc. (b. 1842)    Psychologist. Principles of Psychology (1890), Human Immortality (1897), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), Pragmatism (1907), and The Meaning of Truth (1909) …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • James William Lowther — James Lowther James William Lowther, 1. Viscount Ullswater (* 1. April 1855; † 27. März 1949) war ein britischer Politiker der Liberal Party und Sprecher des Unterhauses (House of Commons) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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