William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist who had trained as a physician. He was the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States.
James wrote influential books on pragmatism, psychology, educational psychology, the psychology of religious experience, and mysticism. He was the brother of novelist Henry James and of diarist Alice James. In the summer of 1878, James married Alice Gibbens.
William James was born at the Astor House in New York City. He was the son of Henry James Sr., a noted and independently wealthy Swedenborgian theologian well acquainted with the literary and intellectual elites of his day. The intellectual brilliance of the James family milieu and the remarkable epistolary talents of several of its members have made them a subject of continuing interest to historians, biographers, and critics.
James interacted with a wide array of writers and scholars throughout his life, including his godfather Ralph Waldo Emerson, his godson William James Sidis, as well as Charles Sanders Peirce, Bertrand Russell, Josiah Royce, Ernst Mach, John Dewey, Macedonio Fernández, Walter Lippmann, Mark Twain, Horatio Alger, Jr., Henri Bergson and Sigmund Freud.
1.) Linda Simon, ed. (1999). William James Remembered. U of Nebraska Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780803292628. "We must not suppose, however, that James meant these contrite and romantic suggestions dogmatically. The agnostic, as well as the physician and neurologist in him, was never quite eclipsed."
2.) Creighton Peden (1989). Creighton Peden, Larry E. Axel. ed. God, Values, and Empiricism: Issues in Philosophical Theology. Mercer University Press. p. 239. ISBN 9780865543607. "The views of William James on agnostic attitudes and arguments regarding theistic belief were uncharacteristically harsh and wide of the mark."