A collection of defining documents from one of America's most influential thinkers.
Marked by a rare combination of penetrating thought and virtuosic style, 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. This collection presents Pragmatism in its entirety, James's seminal set of lectures in which he argues in his witty and limpid style for the "reasonableness of ordinary experience." 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 impulsive poet: a master in the art of recording or divining the lyric quality of experience."
Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Giles Gunn
Older brother of novelist Henry James, William James (1842-1910) was a philosopher, psychologist, physiologist, and professor at Harvard. An important professor of Gertrude Stein's, James has influenced such twentieth-century thinkers as John Dewey, Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermas, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva.
Giles Gunn is Professor of English and of Global and International Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is author of Culture of Criticism & Criticism of Culture as well as editor of the Penguin Classics volume Early American Writing.