Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

William James and Conversion

  • Gerardo Del GuercioEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_200236

James, William (January 11, 1842–August 26, 1910): William James was born in Lower Manhattan on January 11, 1884, to the affluent Henry James, Sr. and Mary Robertson Walsh. In addition, he is the older brother of writers Henry James and Alice James. William James subsequently gravitated into the most famous American Philosopher of the nineteenth century. Together with Charles S. Pierce and John Dewey, James led the philosophical movement called pragmatism and was later named “the father of American Psychology.” At Harvard University, James studied anatomy and physiology under physiologist Louis Agassiz’s tutelage. Afterwards, James’ focus changed to psychology and the interplay between experience, thinking, and conduct.

Although William James published several works, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Natureis his most notable. In it, James illustrated that over and above being regarded as a chief psychologist, he was also measured an important philosopher and...

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  1. James, W. (2002a). Religion and neurology. In The varieties of religious experience: A study in human nature (pp. 3–30). New York/Toronto: Modern Library.Google Scholar
  2. James, W. (2002b). Lecture II: Circumscription of the topic. In The varieties of religious experience: A study in human nature (pp. 31–60). New York/Toronto: Modern Library.Google Scholar
  3. James, W. (2014). The will to believe. In The will to believe, and other essays in popular philosophy (pp. 1–30). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.York College, The City University of New YorkNew York CityUSA