William James Biography: Philosopher and Psychologist


In this article we will examine Philosopher and Psychologist William James Biography. William James was an American psychologist and philosopher who had a pivotal role in the development of psychology as a science.

Born on 11th January 1842. His most influential work includes Principles of Psychology which is one of the founding texts for scientific psychology and Varieties of Religious Experience which explores spiritual experience across cultures.

William James was a philosopher and psychologist who wrote about the relationship between psychology and religion. He believed that science could not answer all questions, which is why he studied philosophy.

His most famous work, The Varieties of Religious Experience, has been published in various editions since 1902. It is considered to be one of the great books on religion ever written.

william james biography
Source: Wikipedia

William James Biography and Life

W. James was born on January 11, 1842 in New York City. He died at age 67 on August 26, 1910 from a heart attack. His most widely known for his work with psychology and philosophy of mind. His philosophies are what led to the creation of humanistic psychology which focuses on a person’s will to better themselves rather than their mental illness or brain chemistry that causes them to have certain behaviors.

One point he makes is “the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated,” which means people want to be valued by other people and they also value themselves enough so that they can take care of themselves too. He wrote several books on philosophy which became classics in America during the time period like “The Varieties of Religious Experience” which is about conversion experiences in religion and “Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking.”

Books by William James

Notable Books by William James (1);

  • The Principles of Psychology, 2 vols. (1890), Dover Publications 1950
  • Psychology (Briefer Course) (1892), University of Notre Dame Press 1985, Dover Publications 2001
  • Is Life Worth Living? (1895), the seminal lecture delivered at Harvard on April 15, 1895
  • The Will to Believe, and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (1897)
  • Human Immortality: Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine (the Ingersoll Lecture, 1897)
  • The Will to Believe, Human Immortality (1956) Dover Publications
  • Talks to Teachers on Psychology: and to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals (1899), Dover Publications 2001, IndyPublish.com 2005
  • The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (1902)
  • Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907), Hackett Publishing 1981, Dover 1995
  • A Pluralistic Universe (1909), Hibbert Lectures, University of Nebraska Press 1996
  • The Meaning of Truth: A Sequel to “Pragmatism” (1909), Prometheus Books, 1997
  • Some Problems of Philosophy: A Beginning of an Introduction to Philosophy (1911), University of Nebraska Press 1996
  • Memories and Studies (1911), Reprint Services Corp: 1992
  • Essays in Radical Empiricism (1912), Dover Publications 2003
  • Letters of William James, 2 vols. (1920)
  • Collected Essays and Reviews (1920)
  • William James on Psychical Research (1960)
  • The Correspondence of William James, 12 vols. (1992–2004) University of Virginia Press
  • The Dilemma of Determinism
  • William James on Habit, Will, Truth, and the Meaning of Life, James Sloan Allen, ed. Frederic C. Beil
Write a Comment

Write a Comment