Customer Reviews: 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)
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on October 22, 2009
Being first and foremost a philosopher by heart my William James readings has been like meeting a freind, with whom I not only share opinions, but the more a freind in philosophy, who's personally engaged in solving profound philosophcal questions and in consequence aim for tranparency. Thus, having found myself a diciple of the William James thinking, my appraisals and recommendation can be nothing short of "countles stars" and a "must read".
It's a massive book of more than 1300 pages, which from the hand of James wasn't meant for a single publication. The various parts can be read independantly. I myself have read all but "The Varieties of Religious Experience", why my recommendations doesn't include that part.
The overall subjects of the book are "Pragmatism".
William James determines pragmatism as a necessary philosophical format, which proposes itself as a mediator between the religious and the emperic mindsets by forming the pragmatic corridor, in which scientific and theoretical developments in general can meet and by means of the pragmatic adequacy criteria submit themselves for concept validation and cross-disciplinary exploration.
Pragmatism, though its tendencies had always existed in philosophy, was at the time a relatively recent though international development that profoundly challenged the ruling rationalist mindset. As always, when profound paradigms are challenged, also the pragmatist point of view became subject of fierce and deep discussions,which on the other hand turned out contributing to the clarification of a wide range of philosofical positions. And this is exactly why this book is worth while reading. The writings of William James not only displays the contemporary discussion, by his excellent intellect and comprehensive knowledge of the history of philosophy his writings simultaneously becomes a kaleidoscope to the world of philosophical thinking in general, to the universe of the pragmatist mindset and to the differences between the pragmatist and rationalist accounts.
Being a collection of writings the same subjects are dealt with more times. Due to a particular interest I first read "Some Problems of Philosophy". This part is perhaps the most stringent treatment of the problems dealt with and may also to others be a good starting point. However, not going back into the lectures and the contemporary discussions you'll miss some of the greater and most rewarding parts of the book.
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on July 26, 2015
The most insightful, intelligent, and learned study of religious experience I have ever read. (My review is restricted to the first book of that collection.) It cover a lot a ground, quotes at length and exposes you to so much. I cannot recommend this enough for anyone interested in religions, whether you're in it for the faith, the psychology, the philosophy, or any combination of those. William James is an absolute classic. Each page is incredibly rich and dense, and the prose never weakens. And all the quotes are on comparable ground in terms of quality.

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on May 23, 2015
This is the way books should be made. Even has the ribbon bookmark. One to keep in your library. The books contained are need to review those, though my former prof at University of Chicago considered VRE to be the most important single book to read on religion. I agree.
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on June 19, 2002
This book is both an excellent introduction to James' style and views and a valuable addition to the library of anyone who appreciates James' work. It is also a beautiful volume and, I believe, Kuklick and The Library of America have truly done an outstanding job in the production of this collection. I consider 'William James: Writings 1902 - 1910' to be one of the treasures in my collection of philosophical works.
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on June 26, 2014
I picked up a used copy of this book on the cheap and I am thrilled. It includes all the books/essays I would have wanted to purchase separately in one volume, and many I have read now for the first time. It represents significant savings and convenience.
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on February 22, 2010
Thank god for the Library of America. To now have William James in his entirety has brought him (and, for that matter, all its other writers) to us full-bodied, flaws and triumphs alike. And in the process shown how central James is to the development of American philosophical thought.
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on October 17, 1998
A great book by a great philosopher who knows how to write well as well as edify. Good antidote for those who only value dogma and institutional religion rather than feeling and experience.
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on September 24, 2015
As a philosopher, William James changed my life. Can't recommend reading his work enough. This is a great collection.
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on July 13, 2015
Great read
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on August 22, 2014
Excellent read. Recomend. All good with delivery.
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