James, William
 
 
(b. 1842, New York, NY, d. 1910. M.D., Harvard University, 1871). James is bet know for The Principles of Psychology, which is an enormous two volume work that addresses the full spectrum of psychological phenomena discussed in James’ time, including brain function, habit, ‘the automaton-theory’, the stream of thought, the self, attention, association, the perception of time, memory, sensation, imagination, perception, reasoning, voluntary movement, instinct, the emotions, will, and hypnotism.
 

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Beginning in 1872 on a part-time basis, and finally taking a full-time position in 1874, James taught as a professor at Harvard until the end of his life. He began teaching a course in physiology, but by 1875, he was labeling his course ‘The Relations between Physiology and Psychology.’ By the time James summarized his view of psychology in The Principles of Psychology (1890), his personal interests were becoming more philosophical in nature. His course offerings during the last years of his life were almost exclusively in philosophy. The Principles of Psychology is an enormous, two volume work, that addresses the full spectrum of psychological phenomena discussed in James’ time, including brain function, habit, ‘the automaton-theory’, the stream of thought, the self, attention, association, the perception of time, memory, sensation, imagination, perception, reasoning, voluntary movement, instinct, the emotions, will, and hypnotism. His other classic psychological work, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), explored the relationships between religious experience and ‘abnormal’ psychology. James’ impact on psychology was enormous. Rather than expounding a theory, he provided a point of view that captured the imagination of psychologists, especially in America. He directly inspired the school of functionalism, which emphasized the purpose and utility of behavior, rather than merely its structural description. This movement flourished early in the Twentieth Century, before it was replaced by behaviorism. Its most basic tenet- a concern for the practical implications of psychological knowledge, and its usefulness for the individual person - have remained hallmarks of American psychology to the present.
 
 
Tadeusz Zawidzki