William James Quotes – Read the Best 50 Quotes of William James | William James Psychology | William James Sidis Quotes

William James was an American philosopher and psychologist, and the leading educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. WILLIAM JAMES, a well-known psychologist and philosopher, was born in New York on January 11, 1842, He is considered to be a foremost thinker of the late nineteenth century, one of the most prominent philosophers of the United States, and the “Father of American psychology”. He also established the philosophical school of pragmatism, which possesses that the meaning of an idea is to be sought in its practical effects, that the function of thought is to guide action, and that truth is to be tested by the practical consequences of belief. While this philosophy waned for most of the 20th Century, supplanted by linguistic philosophy, it is currently enjoying a renaissance, and many contemporary philosophers are returning to James as the main inspiration for new theories of perception, meaning, and belief. James has many insights concerning happiness, chief among them the idea that happiness consists in orienting yourself to a higher purpose, even if that purpose cannot be rationally proved to exist. Those who suffer from a “crisis of meaning” emerge stronger with more enthusiasm for life than those who just go through the motions and take the easy path.

Born in New York in 1842, William James was the oldest of the five children of Henry James Sr., a theologian, and the brother of Henry James, the novelist. The family lived in Europe for five years and returned to the USA, eventually settling in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where James remained for the rest of his life. Unusual for a philosopher, he was happily married and had five children. James began his career as an art student but soon became interested in science. He entered Harvard Medical School in 1863 and graduated with a doctor of medicine (MD) after six years first major work was Principles of Psychology (1890), which sums up the state of psychology then, and points forward in two directions, to objective laboratory psychology, and a phenomenological study of the stream of consciousness. He also discusses the concept of free will, which plays a crucial role in his theory of happiness.

List of William James Books

  • The Varieties of Religious Experience in 1902
  • The Principal of Psychology in 1890
  • The Will To Believe in 1896
  • Pragmatism, a new name for some old ways of thinking in 1907
  • A pluralistic universe in 1909
  • Psychology: The Briefer Course in 1892
  • Essays in Radical Empiricism in 1906
  • Talks to teachers on psychology William James in 1899
  • Some problems of philosophy in 1911
  • The writings of William James in 1967
  • Letters of William James in 1920
  • Pragmatism and other writings
  • The moral equivalent of war in 1910
  • The Heart of William James
  • On Some Of Life’s Ideals William James in 1900
  • The Energies of Men in 1907
  • What is an emotion? William James in 1884
  • Pragmatism and the Meaning of Truth William James
  • Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results William James in 1898
  • The Sentiment of Rationality in 1879
  • William and Henry James
  • Essays in Pragmatism
  • Essays, Philosophical and Psychological: In Honor of William James, Professor in Harvard University in 1908
  • Delphi Complete Works of William James
  • Text-book of Psychology William James
  • The Complete Works of William James
  • Essays in Philosophy William James
  • Selected Writings William James
  • The Pragmatism: Great Classics William James
  • What Pragmatism Means
  • William James on Psychical Research
  • The Gospel of Relaxation
  • Correspondence (1882–1910) William James
  • The Naval History of Great Britain, from the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV. William James in 1822
  • Will James’ Book of Cowboy Stories William James in 1938
  • James-Grassi’s Dictionary of the English and Italian Languages by William James
  • Talks to Teachers – Scholar’s Choice Edition William James
  • Talks To Teachers On Psychology – Publishing People Series William James
  • Warden Refuted: Being a Defence of the British Navy Against the Misrepresentations of a Work … William James
  • A Journey Through Madness: Bonds Unshackled William James
  • The Order of Release: The Story of John Ruskin, Effie Gray and John Everett Millais Told for the First Time in Their Unpublished Letters William James
  • Tʻvalsacieri: tʻargmanebi William James

William James Inspirational & Motivational Quotes

  • The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it. – William James
  • This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it. – William James
  • The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds. – William James
  • Whatever universe a professor believes in must at any rate be a universe that lends itself to lengthy discourse. A universe definable in two sentences is something for which the professorial intellect has no use. No faith in anything of that cheap kind! – William James
  • If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it. – William James
  • Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action. – William James
  • Our faith is faith in someone else’s faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case. – William James
  • The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community. – William James
  • If merely ‘feeling good’ could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience. – William James
  • The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes. – William James
  • Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings. – William James
  • It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true. – William James
  • If you want a quality, act as if you already had it. – William James
  • The god whom science recognizes must be a God of universal laws exclusively, a God who does a wholesale, not a retail business. He cannot accommodate his processes to the convenience of individuals. – William James
  • If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system. – William James
  • The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. – William James
  • Knowledge about life is one thing; effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another. – William James
  • The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one. – William James
  • How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure. – William James
  • Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. – William James
  • Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. – William James
  • A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. – William James
  • The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. – William James
  • It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome. – William James
  • If the grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through the subliminal door. – William James
  • Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible. – William James
  • Begin to be now what you will be hereafter. – William James
  • The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. – William James
  • Man lives for science as well as bread. – William James
  • There must be something solemn, serious, and tender about any attitude which we denominate religious. If glad, it must not grin or snicker; if sad, it must not scream or curse. – William James
  • ‘Pure experience’ is the name I gave to the immediate flux of life which furnishes the material to our later reflection with its conceptual categories. – William James
  • Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results. – William James
  • Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power. – William James
  • Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. – William James
  • A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain. – William James
  • To change ones life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. – William James
  • Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. – William James
  • Belief creates the actual fact. – William James
  • To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal. – William James
  • There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man’s lack of faith in his true Self. – William James

William JamesCollections

  • William James: Writings 1878–1899 (1992). Library of America, 1212
  • Psychology: Briefer Course (rev. and condensed Principles of Psychology), The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, Talks to Teachers and Students, Essays (nine others)
  • William James: Writings 1902–1910 (1987). Library of America, 1379
  • The Varieties of Religious Experience, Pragmatism, A Pluralistic Universe, The Meaning of Truth, Some Problems of Philosophy, Essays
  • The Writings of William James: A Comprehensive Edition (1978). University of Chicago Press,
  • Pragmatism, Essays in Radical Empiricism, and A Pluralistic Universe complete; plus selections from other works
  • In 1975, Harvard University Press began publication of a standard edition of The Works of William James.

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