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James investigated mystical experiences throughout his life, leading him to experiment with chloral hydrate , amyl nitrite , nitrous oxide , and peyote American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia classes him as one of several figures who "took a more pantheist or pandeist approach by rejecting views of God as separate from the world.

William James provided a description of the mystical experience, in his famous collection of lectures published in as The Varieties of Religious Experience. James wrote that humans had many instincts, even more than other animals. James is one of the two namesakes of the James—Lange theory of emotion , which he formulated independently of Carl Lange in the s.

The theory holds that emotion is the mind's perception of physiological conditions that result from some stimulus. In James's oft-cited example, it is not that we see a bear, fear it, and run; we see a bear and run; consequently, we fear the bear. Our mind's perception of the higher adrenaline level, heartbeat, etc. This way of thinking about emotion has great consequences for the philosophy of aesthetics as well as to the philosophy and practice of education. To this simple primary and immediate pleasure in certain pure sensations and harmonious combinations of them, there may, it is true, be added secondary pleasures; and in the practical enjoyment of works of art by the masses of mankind these secondary pleasures play a great part.

The more classic one's taste is, however, the less relatively important are the secondary pleasures felt to be, in comparison with those of the primary sensation as it comes in. Classicism and romanticism have their battles over this point. The theory of emotion was also independently developed in Italy by the anthropologist Giuseppe Sergi. Why do we run away if we notice that we are in danger? Because we are afraid of what will happen if we don't.

This obvious answer to a seemingly trivial question has been the central concern of a century-old debate about the nature of our emotions. It was important, not because it definitively answered the question it raised, but because of the way in which James phrased his response. He conceived of an emotion in terms of a sequence of events that starts with the occurrence of an arousing stimulus the sympathetic nervous system or the parasympathetic nervous system ; and ends with a passionate feeling, a conscious emotional experience.

A major goal of emotion research is still to elucidate this stimulus-to-feeling sequence—to figure out what processes come between the stimulus and the feeling. James set out to answer his question by asking another: do we run from a bear because we are afraid or are we afraid because we run? He proposed that the obvious answer, that we run because we are afraid, was wrong , and instead argued that we are afraid because we run:.

Our natural way of thinking about My theory, on the contrary, is that the bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur IS the emotion called 'feeling' by Damasio. The essence of James's proposal was simple. It was premised on the fact that emotions are often accompanied by bodily responses racing heart, tight stomach, sweaty palms, tense muscles, and so on; sympathetic nervous system and that we can sense what is going on inside our body much the same as we can sense what is going on in the outside world.

According to James, emotions feel different from other states of mind because they have these bodily responses that give rise to internal sensations, and different emotions feel different from one another because they are accompanied by different bodily responses and sensations.

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For example, when we see James's bear, we run away. During this act of escape, the body goes through a physiological upheaval: blood pressure rises, heart rate increases, pupils dilate, palms sweat, muscles contract in certain ways evolutionary, innate defense mechanisms. Other kinds of emotional situations will result in different bodily upheavals. In each case, the physiological responses return to the brain in the form of bodily sensations, and the unique pattern of sensory feedback gives each emotion its unique quality.

Fear feels different from anger or love because it has a different physiological signature the parasympathetic nervous system for love.

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The mental aspect of emotion, the feeling, is a slave to its physiology, not vice versa: we do not tremble because we are afraid or cry because we feel sad; we are afraid because we tremble and are sad because we cry. One of the long-standing schisms in the philosophy of history concerns the role of individuals in social change. One faction sees individuals as seen in Dickens ' A Tale of Two Cities and Thomas Carlyle 's The French Revolution, A History as the motive power of history, and the broader society as the page on which they write their acts.

The other sees society as moving according to holistic principles or laws, and sees individuals as its more-or-less willing pawns. A philosopher, according to James, must accept geniuses as a given entity the same way as a biologist accepts as an entity Darwin's "spontaneous variations".

The role of an individual will depend on the degree of its conformity with the social environment, epoch, moment, etc. James introduces a notion of receptivities of the moment. The societal mutations from generation to generation are determined directly or indirectly mainly by the acts or examples of individuals whose genius was so adapted to the receptivities of the moment or whose accidental position of authority was so critical that they became ferments, initiators of movements, setters of precedent or fashion, centers of corruption, or destroyers of other persons, whose gifts, had they had free play, would have led society in another direction.

James studied closely the schools of thought known as associationism and spiritualism. The view of an associationist is that each experience that one has leads to another, creating a chain of events. The association does not tie together two ideas, but rather physical objects. Small physical changes occur in the brain which eventually form complex ideas or associations. Thoughts are formed as these complex ideas work together and lead to new experiences. Isaac Newton and David Hartley both were precursors to this school of thought, proposing such ideas as "physical vibrations in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves are the basis of all sensations, all ideas, and all motions He referred to associationism as "psychology without a soul" [54] because there is nothing from within creating ideas; they just arise by associating objects with one another.

On the other hand, a spiritualist believes that mental events are attributed to the soul. Whereas in associationism, ideas and behaviors are separate, in spiritualism, they are connected. Spiritualism encompasses the term innatism , which suggests that ideas cause behavior. Ideas of past behavior influence the way a person will act in the future; these ideas are all tied together by the soul. Therefore, an inner soul causes one to have a thought, which leads them to perform a behavior, and memory of past behaviors determine how one will act in the future. James had a strong opinion about these schools of thought.

He was, by nature, a pragmatist and thus took the view that one should use whatever parts of theories make the most sense and can be proven. James believed that each person has a soul, which exists in a spiritual universe, and leads a person to perform the behaviors they do in the physical world.

James stated that, although it does appear that humans use associations to move from one event to the next, this cannot be done without this soul tying everything together. For, after an association has been made, it is the person who decides which part of it to focus on, and therefore determines in which direction following associations will lead. Spiritualism, however, does not demonstrate actual physical representations for how associations occur.

James combined the views of spiritualism and associationism to create his own way of thinking. James was a founding member and vice president of the American Society for Psychical Research. In , the year after the death of his young son, James had his first sitting with Piper at the suggestion of his mother-in-law.

Autobiography and the Psychological Study of Religious Lives

He expressed his belief in Piper by saying, "If you wish to upset the law that all crows are black, it is enough if you prove that one crow is white. My white crow is Mrs. After evaluating sixty-nine reports of Piper's mediumship he considered the hypothesis of telepathy as well as Piper obtaining information about her sitters by natural means such as her memory recalling information.

According to James the "spirit-control" hypothesis of her mediumship was incoherent, irrelevant and in cases demonstrably false. Piper's knowledge of the James family was acquired from the gossip of servants and that the whole mystery rests on the failure of the people upstairs to realize that servants [downstairs] also have ears. James was convinced that the "future will corroborate" the existence of telepathy.

Titchener took issue with James's support for psychical research and considered his statements unscientific. James' theory of the self divided a person's mental picture of self into two categories: the "Me" and the "I". The "Me" can be thought of as a separate object or individual a person refers to when describing their personal experiences; while the "I" is the self that knows who they are and what they have done in their life.

He linked this part of the self to the soul of a person, or what is now thought of as the mind. James further divided the "Me" part of self into: a material, a social, and a spiritual self, as below. The material self consists of things that belong to a person or entities that a person belongs to.

Thus, things like the body, family, clothes, money, and such make up the material self. For James, the core of the material self was the body.

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He believed a person's clothes were one way they expressed who they felt they were; or clothes were a way to show status, thus contributing to forming and maintaining one's self-image. James felt that if one lost a family member, a part of who they are was lost also. Money figured in one's material self in a similar way. If a person had significant money then lost it, who they were as a person changed as well.

Our social selves are who we are in a given social situation. For James, people change how they act depending on the social situation that they are in. James believed that people had as many social selves as they did social situations they participated in. James also believed that in a given social group, an individual's social self may be divided even further.

For James, the spiritual self was who we are at our core. It is more concrete or permanent than the other two selves. The spiritual self is our subjective and most intimate self. Aspects of a spiritual self include things like personality, core values, and conscience that do not typically change throughout an individual's lifetime. The spiritual self involves introspection, or looking inward to deeper spiritual, moral, or intellectual questions without the influence of objective thoughts.

What James refers to as the "I" self. For James, the pure ego is what provides the thread of continuity between our past, present, and future selves. The pure ego's perception of consistent individual identity arises from a continual stream of consciousness. The pure ego was not a substance and therefore could not be examined by science. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article is about the philosopher and psychologist. For other people with the same name, see William James disambiguation. Tamworth , New Hampshire , US. Pragmatism functional psychology radical empiricism. Pragmatism psychology philosophy of religion epistemology meaning. Will to believe doctrine pragmatic theory of truth radical empiricism James—Lange theory of emotion psychologist's fallacy brain usage theory soft determinism dilemma of determinism James' theory of the self the term multiverse.

Schiller Afrikan Spir [3] Emanuel Swedenborg. Main article: The Will to Believe. See also: Instinct.

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Biography portal Philosophy portal Psychology portal. Zalta, Edward N. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. Retrieved 2 June — via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Library of America. Retrieved Megan E. Archived from the original on Review of General Psychology. Korn, R. Davis, S. Davis: "Historians' and chairpersons' judgements of eminence among psychologists".

American Psychologist , , Volume 46, pp. Nicholas Brealey Publishing Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Varieties of Religious Experience. Rejecting the more rigid ideas of Transcendentalism to which Dewey had been exposed in academia, it viewed ideas as tools for experimenting, with the goal of improving the human experience.

As man struggled to understand the results of change, he was forced to think creatively in order to resume control of his shifting environment. For Dewey, thought was the means through which man came to understand and connect with the world around him. A universal education was the key to teaching people how to abandon their habits and think creatively.

John Dewey was a strong proponent for progressive educational reform. He believed that education should be based on the principle of learning through doing. In Dewey and his wife Harriet started their own experimental primary school, the University Elementary School, at the University of Chicago.

His goal was to test his educational theories, but Dewey resigned when the university president fired Harriet. The New School is a progressive, experimental school that emphasizes the free exchange of intellectual ideas in the arts and social sciences. During the s, Dewey lectured on educational reform at schools all over the world. Dewey did not, however, dismiss the value of also learning about the past. In the s, after he retired from teaching, Dewey became an active member of numerous educational organizations, including the New York Teachers Guild and the International League for Academic Freedom.

Over the course of his lifetime, Dewey published more than 1, works, including essays, articles and books. His writing covered a broad range of topics: psychology, philosophy, educational theory, culture, religion and politics. Through his articles in The New Republic , he established himself as one of the most highly regarded social commentators of his day. Dewey continued to write prolifically up until his death.


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Industrialization, he believed, had quickly created great wealth for only a few people, rather than benefiting society as a whole. In , Dewey, then 87, remarried to a widow named Roberta Grant. We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Sign up for the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives.

Editors: Jacob A. Belzen and Antoon Geels. This volume positions itself on the cutting edge of two fields in psychology that enjoy rapidly increasing attention: both the study of human lives and some core domains of such lives as religion and spirituality are high on the agenda of current research and teaching. Biographies and autobiographies are being approached in new ways and have become central to the study of human lives as an object of research and a preferred method for obtaining unique data about subjective human experiences.

Ever since the beginning of the psychology of religion, autobiographies have also been pointed out as an important source of information about psychic processes involved in religiosity. In this volume, a number of leading theoreticians and researchers from Europe and the USA try to bring them back to this field by drawing on new insights and latest developments in psychological theory. More Options Prices excl. Add to Cart. View PDF Flyer. Contents About. Pages: 1—6. By: Jacob A. By: Jens Brockmeier.