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William James, a member of America's most illustrious intellectual family, is widely acclaimed as the country's foremost philosopher, the first of its psychologists, and a champion of religious pluralism. As the apostle of pragmatism, his influence on American thought is as strong now as it has ever been. James's emphasis on the creative power of faith, will, and action, his opening up of philosophy to the fresh air of ordinary experience, his fascination with alternative forms of belief and states of consciousness, and his impatience with dogmas of any kind - make him a defender of individual experience, and earn him a place beside Emerson and Whitman as an exponent of American democratic culture. In this volume are the brilliant, engagingly written works of James's early and middle years.
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.