Psychologist Theorist: William James
Throughout his youth, William attended private schools in the United States and Europe.
James remains a widely read philosopher, and his theories on pragmatism have contributed both to the field of psychology and philosophy. According to James's pragmatism, the value of an idea is dependent upon its usefulness in the practical world rather than its absolute truth.
In 1878, James agreed to write a psychology textbook for the American publisher Henry Holt, but it took him twelve years to produce the manuscript, and when he did he described it to Holt as “a loathsome, distended, tumefied, bloated, dropsical mass, testifying to nothing but two facts: 1st, that there is no such thing as a science of psychology, and 2nd, that W. J. is an incapable” (The Letters of William James, ed. Henry James. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1926, pp. 393–4). Nevertheless, this thousand page volume of psychology, physiology and philosophy has proved to be James’s masterwork, containing early statements of his main philosophical ideas in extraordinarily rich chapters.
Essays in Philosophy. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1978 [E].
Some Problems of Philosophy. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1979. Originally published in 1911.
The Letters of William James, ed. Henry James, Boston: Little Brown, 1926.
The Correspondence of William James, ed. Ignas K. Skrupskelis and Elizabeth M. Berkeley, 12 volumes. Charlottesville and London, University Press of Virginia, 1992–.