William James and the Art of Popular Statement
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Title Page and Copyright
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When I was still an undergraduate student, two events foreshadowed the writing of this book. First, I began reading William James’s work. For the most part I didn’t yet understand James, but his thoughts captivated me nonetheless. Second, I heard the word ...
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On May 1, 1903, William James sat at his desk catching up on correspondence. One of the letters he wrote that day was to his close friend and philosophical ally Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller. James addressed a number of topics in the letter—a recent essay ...
List of Abbreviations
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Chapter One. Eloquence and Professionalism in the Nineteenth Century
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Born in January 1842, William James grew up in uncertain times. Politically, socially, culturally, economically, and intellectually, the world of his youth would little resemble the world of his adulthood. Perhaps Henry Adams—James’s contemporary, friend, and fellow intellectual—captured ...
Chapter Two. Engaging Science and Society
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The late 1860s and the early 1870s forced William James to confront one of the prickliest truths about the culture of professionalism: Institutional affiliation was practically necessary for aspiring intellectuals. Because specialized training and academic credibility were ...
Chapter Three. Talking to Teachers
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By the end of the 1870s, William James had realized how much he enjoyed discussing science and society with the American people. In fact, in February 1879, a few months after completing his first series of lectures at the Lowell Institute, he wrote to Augustus Lowell about ...
Chapter Four. Speaking Up for Spirits
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On July 9, 1885, Herman James, the eighteen-month- old son of William James, died as a result of complications from whooping cough. Two days later, James and his wife buried the child, whom they had affectionately called “Humster” during his short time on earth. His death ...
Chapter Five. Religious Experience and the Appealsof Intellectual Populism
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William James was agitated in May 1898. Confrontations over psychical research were fresh in his mind, prompting him to tell James McKeen Cattell just how he felt: “I must say that the ‘Scientist’ mind seems to me to be characterized by as sectarian a spirit ...
Chapter Six. Empowering a Pragmatic Public
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When William James looked back on The Varieties of Religious Experience a year after the Gifford lectures were over, he knew that his performance on the Edinburgh stage had played a central role in the book’s success. In fact, the act of lecturing had been so ...
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One month before his death, knowing that the end was near, William James reflected on his career and perceived a problem. His “system,” he believed, was “too much like an arch built only on one side.”1 If it was an arch built only on one side, which side was completed and ...
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Publication Year: 2013