William James- A Brief Biography

James both young and old.


By: Dan Heil, Tom Kolacki, Ben Teel, Justine Ramos

William James was born January 11, 1842 to a wealthy family. He was the
first of three children, older brother to famed American novelist, Henry James.
James attended several institutions in pursuit of different careers before finally
deciding to become a philosopher. This indecision can be partially attributed to his
debilitating depression, which rendered him socially reclusive for large periods
of time. James’ life experiences and innovative research into pragmatism shaped
his views on epistemology and theories on psychological stream of consciousness.
In 1890, James published his Principles of Psychology, which revolutionized the
discipline’s transition from philosophy to psychology; Psychology: The Briefer
Course appeared in 1982. Directly targeting influential philosophers of the past
and then-present time, James’s ideas about psychology countered Immanuel Kant’s
theories on innate nature, Herbert Spencer’s materialism, and Jeremy Bentham’s
associationsism. William James died on August 26, 1910; however, his many
publications as well as his theories are still studied today.

Some images of James in his daily life:

with royce
James with Josiah Royce (library.kilgore.edu)

with psychologits
James pictured with other psychologists including
Carl Jung at the “Clark Lectures”, started by Sigmund Freud
(clarku.edu)

with mom
James with his Mother (newhumanist.org.uk)