Products>Some Problems of Philosophy: A Beginning of an Introduction to Philosophy

Some Problems of Philosophy: A Beginning of an Introduction to Philosophy

Format: Digital
, 1911


Is life worth living? This question, the title of one of William James’ essays, is one James himself struggled with in his life and work. Trained as a doctor, James never practiced medicine. Perhaps due to his own struggles with depression and melancholy, he was drawn to philosophy and psychology. That interest turned into a serious academic career. Known as the father of American psychology, James is the founder of functional psychology and cofounder of the James-Lange Theory of Emotion. He also wrote an important work on the psychology of religious experience. James’ philosophical work forms some of the seminal thinking on pragmatism—the belief that usefulness, not truth, should be the focus of philosophical ideas.

In Some Problems of Philosophy, James gives an overview of philosophy geared toward the reader of philosophy. He examines the following topics: metaphysics, the problem of being, perception and conception, pluralism v. monism, and novelty. James does not simply give a straightfoward account of philosophy; rather, he gives his own critique of existing philosophical systems. Particularly, James attacks the ideas of monism and intellectualism in favor of pluralistic empiricism.

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  • Immerses readers in an important work of American philosophy
  • Provides arguments in favor of pluralistic empiricism
  • Explores William James’ critiques of philosophy and its systems
  • Philosophy and Its Critics
  • The Problems of Metaphysics
  • The Problem of Being
  • Percept and Concept—The Import of Concepts
  • Percept and Concept—The Abuse of Concepts
  • Percept and Concept—Some Corollaries
  • The One and the Many
  • The One and the Many (Continued)—Values and Defects
  • The Problem of Novelty
  • Novelty and the Infinite—The Conceptual View
  • Novelty and the Infinite—The Perceptual View
  • Novelty and Causation—The Conceptual View
  • Novelty and Causation—The Perceptual View
  • Appendix: Faith and the Right to Believe
  • Title: Some Problems of Philosophy: A Beginning of an Introduction to Philosophy
  • Author: William James
  • Publisher: Longmans, Green, and Co.
  • Publication Date: 1911
  • Pages: 237
  • Christian Group: Evangelical
  • Resource Type: Collected Essays
  • Topic: Philosophy

William James (1842–1910) was born at the Astor House in New York City. His father, Henry James Sr., was a Swedenborgian theologian. His godfather was poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. James studied science at Harvard University and enrolled in Harvard Medical School, earning an MD in 1869. In 1878, he married Alice Gibbens, and in 1882, he became a member of the theosophical society. James suffered various forms of depression throughout his life. Though he studied medicine, he was drawn to philosophy and psychology. He began writing on these subjects and eventually began teaching at Harvard. He held professorships of both philosophy and psychology, ending his career as emeritus professor of philosophy in 1907. Medical historians consider him the 14th most eminent psychologist of the twentieth century.