“The Most Artistic Lesson I Ever Heard” – A Contribution to the Reflection on a Comment Made by William James Regarding a Lesson by Ernst Mach

  • Mariana ValenteEmail author
Part of the Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook book series (VCIY, volume 22)


On November the 2nd 1882, William James visited Ernst Mach in Prague, and attended one of his lectures. The conversation with Mach and the lecture were marking events for James. James was also very interested in Hermann von Helmholtz’s ideas and he attended also one of his lessons. However that lesson had not such a marking effect on James. Based on Mach’s and Helmholtz’s lectures for the general public I propose a reflection on the defining traits that made the said event “the most artistic lesson [James] ever heard”. We shall remark, namely, on the imaginative joy contained in Mach’s texts, which appear to embody some of James’ key ideas on Education. To evaluate these writings as regard the ‘artistic lesson’, we shall turn to William James’s Talks to Teachers on Psychology and Education (1892) and to Alfred Whitehead’s “The Aims of Education” (1929), as well as to some contemporary thinkers.


Artistic lesson To experiment Imagination Sensibility Imaginative joy 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de FisicaUniversidade de Évora IHC-CEHFCi ÉvoraPortugal

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