James, William, and the Phenomenology of Religious Experience
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James, Brentano, and Husserl
William James is widely known as the father of American psychology and a leading American philosopher. Religious studies scholars also know him as a founding father of their field. Surprisingly, however, James’s vital contributions to the development of phenomenology, in general, and the phenomenology of religious experience, in particular, are virtually unknown or overlooked. Nevertheless, historically, James influenced phenomenologists Franz Brentano and Carl Stumpf and, in turn, Edmund Husserl himself.
Edmund Husserl was a German phenomenologist who worked in the early twentieth century. He is typically credited with founding the contemporary phenomenological tradition. Scholarship on the topic has shown that Husserl’s development of the phenomenological method was inspired by his teacher, Franz Brentano, as well the work of William James. Although the term “phenomenology” had already appeared in German philosophy in the works of Johann Heinrich Lambert...
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