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William James Psychology

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“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 it’s surroundings.” As said by William James, one of the most important figures in psychology, and often called the father of American psychology.

William James was born on January 11, 1842 in New York City. He came from a family with great wealth. His father was driven to provide his children with a plentiful education, the James children were enrolled in the best possible schools, which their studies entailed culture and art.
Over the next couple of years, William jumped through many different fields, he wished to become a painter, but soon deserted that dream. He went on to enroll at Harvard, to devote his attention towards chemistry. As the family’s money began to lessen, he realized he would need to support himself and he transferred to Harvard Medical School, but very quickly he grew unhappy with medicine.
While experiencing health problems such as back pain, sight problems, emotional moodiness, neurotic obsessions and becoming affected by depression, James spent the next two years in France and Germany.
While studying with Hermann von Helmholtz, James became greatly interested in the field of psychology, he was intrigued by the structure of personality, a new understanding of human potential and a field in which invigorating research was defining psychology as a new science.
His work set him free from his depression which he had been suffering from, for quite some time. James went on to receive a Masters Degree from Harvard Medical School i...

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... James was awarded to lecture at Stanford University in 1906. Which is the same year he delivered the Lowell Lectures in Boston. Afterwards, publishing of Pragmatism: A New Name for Old Ways of Thinking came about in 1907.
In 1909, A Plural Univerise was published and this proved to be his last major work.
Within the following year he went to his families summer home in Chocorua, New Hampshire, and there he died of heart failure on August 26, 1910.
Years after his death, in 1912, Essays in Radical Empiricism was published and edited by his son Henry. His writings still hold substance due to the honesty of his ideas and the racy style he embraced his concerns and ideas through. William James was considered to many as the most intelligent and deep American philosophers. “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
–William James
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