Thursday, November 29, 2012

William James~

William James
Born January 11, 1842 in New York City.

1869 - Received M.D. from Harvard.

1875 - Began teaching psychology at Harvard.

1882 - Death of William's father, Henry James Sr.

1890 - Published The Principles of Psychology.

1892 - Turned lab over to Hugo Munsterberg.

1897 - Published Will to Believe and Other Essays

1907 - Published Pragmatism and officially resigned from Harvard.

Died August 26, 1910 at the age of 68.

 William James - Early Life:

William James was born into an affluent family. His father was deeply interested in philosophy and theology and strove to provide his children with a rich education.
The James children traveled to Europe frequently, attended the best possible schools, and were immersed in culture and art, which apparently paid off - William James went on to become one of the most important figures in psychology, while brother Henry James became one of the most acclaimed American novelists.

Early in school, James expressed an interest in becoming a painter. While Henry James Sr. was known as an unusually permissive and liberal father, he wanted William to study science or philosophy. Only after William persisted in his interest did Henry permit his son to formally study painting.

After studying painting with the artist William Morris Hunt for more than a year, James abandoned his dream of being a painter and enrolled at Harvard to study chemistry. While two of James' brothers enlisted to serve in the American Civil War, William and Henry did not due to health problems.

Career:

As the family money began to dwindle, William realized he would need to support himself and switched to Harvard Medical School. Unhappy with medicine as well, he left on an expedition with naturalist Louis Agassiz, although the experience was not a happy one. "I was, body and soul, in a more indescribably hopeless, homeless and friendless state than I ever want to be in again," he later wrote.

Suffering from health problems and severe depression, James spent the next two years in France and Germany. It was during this time that he studied with Hermann von Helmholtz and became increasingly interested in psychology.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1869, James continued to sink into depression. After a period of inactivity, the president of Harvard offered James a position as an instructor. While he famously commented that "the first lecture on psychology I ever heard being the first I ever gave," James accepted the job and went on to teach at Harvard for the next 35 years. James also founded one of the first experimental psychology laboratories in the United States.

His classic textbook The Principles of Psychology (1890) was widely acclaimed, but some were critical of James' personal, literary tone. "It is literature," psychologist Wilhelm Wundt famously commented, "it is beautiful, but it is not psychology." Two years later, James published a condensed version of the work titled Psychology: The Briefer Course. The two books were widely used by students of psychology and were known to most as "the James" and "the Jimmy" respectively.



 
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