In his introduction to this collection, John representative. McDermott presents James's thinking in all its manifestations, stressing the importance of radical empiricism and placing into perspective the doctrines of pragmatism and the will to believe. The critical periods of James's life are highlighted to illuminate the development of his philosophical and psychological thought.
The anthology features representive selections from The Principles of Psychology, The Will to Believe, and The Variety of Religious Experience in addition to the complete Essays in Radical Empiricism and A Pluralistic Universe. The original 1907 edition of Pragmatism is included, as well as classic selections from all of James's other major works. Of particular significance for James scholarship is the supplemented version of Ralph Barton Perry's Annotated Bibliography of the Writings of William James, with additions bringing it up to 1976.