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Written with cordiality and candor, James's essays seek to bring his readers into the processes and play of his own reflections. Ranging across the intellectual terrain from philosophy and psychology to religion and politics, James composed the most engaging and enduring articulation of that distinctly American contribution to world thought, pragmatism. This collection presents, in its entirety, Pragmatism, the seminal set of lectures in which James argues for the "reasonableness of ordinary experience" in his inimitably limpid and witty style. Also gathered here are selections from James's other formative works, including The Meaning of Truth, Psychology, The Will to Believe, and Talks to Teachers on Psychology. Throughout these essays the fecund power of imagination is restored to the operations of rationality by James, whom George Santayana hailed as "an impulse poet: a master in the art of recording or divining the lyric quality of experience."
The writings of William James represent one of America's most original contributions to the history of ideas. Ranging from philosophy and psychology to religion and politics, James composed the most engaging formulation of American pragmatism. 'Pragmatism' grew out of a set of lectures and the full text is included here along with 'The Meaning of Truth', 'Psychology', 'The Will to Believe', and 'Talks to Teachers on Psychology'.
Older brother of novelist Henry James, William James (1842-1910) was a philosopher, psychologist, physiologist, and professor at Harvard. James has influenced such twentieth-century thinkers as Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermans, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva. Giles Gunn is Professor of English and of Global & International Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is author of 'Culture of Criticism and Criticism of Culture' and edited Early American Writing for Penguin.