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William James : Writings 1902-1910 : The Varieties of Religious Experience / Pragmatism / A Pluralistic Universe / The Meaning of Truth / Some Problems of Philosophy / Essays (Library of America) Hardcover – February 1, 1988


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William James : Writings 1902-1910 : The Varieties of Religious Experience / Pragmatism / A Pluralistic Universe / The Meaning of Truth / Some Problems of Philosophy / Essays (Library of America) + William James : Writings 1878-1899 : Psychology, Briefer Course / The Will to Believe / Talks to Teachers and Students / Essays (Library of America) + The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America (Book 38)
  • Hardcover: 1379 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (February 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940450380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940450387
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA This volume contains the texts of five books and 19 essays, representing all of James' major work between 1902 and 1910. This latest addition to the series may fill a gap in some collections.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

The Library of America is an award-winning, nonprofit program dedicated to publishing America's best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes, featuring authoritative texts. Hailed as "the most important book-publishing project in the nation's history" (Newsweek), this acclaimed series is restoring America's literary heritage in "the finest-looking, longest-lasting edition ever made" (New Republic).

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Customer Reviews

I picked up a used copy of this book on the cheap and I am thrilled.
Garrett Wright
Overall then, a great book, with some great ideas giving direction and purpose to those willing to invest in thought and definitely (due to the length!)
D. Lane
This volume of the Library of America series consists of five books and nineteen essays by James written between 1902 and 1910.
Robin Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The great philosopher and psychologist William James (1842 -- 1910) is best-known as the founder, with C.S. Peirce and John Dewey, of the distinctively American philosophy of pragmatism. James is that indeed, but he is much more as well. This volume of the Library of America series consists of five books and nineteen essays by James written between 1902 and 1910. (A separate Library of America volume includes James's earlier writing, including "Psychology, A Briefer Course" and the essay "The Will to Believe".) The volume will give the reader a feeling for the breadth of James's philosophical, scientific, and religious concerns. The volume is edited by Professor Bruce Kuklick of the University of Pennsylvania who has written extensively about James and about the history of American philosophy. In this volume, Kuklick provides an unusually thorough chronology of James's life to accompany James's texts.

For those readers with no prior familiarity with James, I suggest beginning with a brief essay "Answers to a Questionniare" (p. 1183) that James wrote in response to questions from a colleague at Harvard about the role of religion in life. In his answers, James briefly summarizes his theism and his conviction of the value of religious experience. He writes that "Religion means primarily a universe of spiritual relations surrounding the earthly practical ones, not merely relations of 'value,' but agencies and their activities". James says that his belief in immortality had increased over the years as he is "just getting fit to live." As to the authority of the Bible, James states that it is not his authority in religious matters. Rather, he describes it is "so human a book that I don't see how belief in its divine authorship can survive the reading of it.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By R. Wallace on April 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Marvelous book. James is a clear -- and humorous -- writer. He clearly saw that psychology and philosophy are not completely separate disciplines, as they are so often considered today. Psychology unfortunately in many ways was sidetracked by Freud. And philosophy got bushwhacked by the unintelligible babblings of existentialists like Sartre. James was a wide-ranging writer -- not only did he take psychology and philosophy seriously, but also religion, including mysticism -- hence the title _The Varities of Religious Experience._ James was no ivory-tower egghead: he even tried mescaline once (although he admits he barfed it up). This collection contains his amazing essay, "Does Consciousness Exist?" in which he argues that the subject/object dichotomy that appears to be so obvious cannot be true. In fact, he was able to convince Bertrand Russell of the his truth of his position -- an astonishing feat indeed. If you want to see what _could_ have been, James is one of the places to start.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There is more than one William James. James is philosopher, psychologist, and researcher in religious experience. In this volume are collected a number of his greatest works, including the incomparable 'Varieties of Religious Experience'. In this work James' own particular mental crisis is included, as is his development of the concept of 'twice- born'of that kind of human being who having gone through the dark night of the soul, emerges to see the world with a depth of understanding those 'once born' cannot know.

This volume also contains James summary statement of , what is often claimed to be, the only original philosophy invented in America, 'Pragmatism'. Along with C.S. Pierce and their pupil John Dewey , James is the great founding figure of ' pragmatism' of bringing a theory of truth before the world which stresses the consequences of the statement, the ' cash value' of the idea.

I myself prefer the depth of experiences offered in 'The Variety of Religious Experience' to the rather plain fare given in the purely philosophical writings.

But James is a great American classic, a 'must read' for those who would truly know the American mind and experience.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Lane on August 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. It's a bit of a long haul to read though as it encompasses I suppose many books in one volume. The author in my opinion writes very well, it might take a bit of getting used to but believe me it's well worth the perseverence! The information he provides seems to be concentrated in each sentence, so if you're in for a casual read with a thought here and there on whats being presented you're gonna struggle to get the full worth of this book. Having said that, understanding comes in levels and I think to deepen your realisation of some of the ideas presented here a scan re-read could be in order! Just a brief word about style and approach. Like I have said in the title, common sense seems to shine through on a lot of the ideas here, with James seemingly steering us home taking us away from our wayward thoughts and bringing us to that place where he appears to be totally grounded. Definitely some different and refreshing approaches though, with thoughts of "yeah, that's quite good, I might have come to that conclusion had I really thought about it" coming when you read some of the passages. But I suppose his real strength, is his ability to penetrate into the heart of issues and expose the core of the matter at hand, and divulge points using the succinctness of logic. As much as he asks of himself he will ask of others, I refer of course to his critics. Some of the passages look at those who oppose his ideas, and where his strict governance of himself is telling in the text, he exposes the lack of veracity and looseness in his opponents words.
Overall then, a great book, with some great ideas giving direction and purpose to those willing to invest in thought and definitely (due to the length!) in time!
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