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Experiencing William James

Belief in a Pluralistic World
James Campbell

BUY Cloth · 398 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813940472 · $75.00 · Nov 2017
BUY Paper · 398 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813940489 · $35.00 · Nov 2017
BUY Ebook · 398 pp. · ISBN 9780813940496 · $75.00 · Nov 2017

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, American Library Association (2018)

William James has long been recognized as a central figure in the American philosophic tradition, and his ideas continue to play a significant role in contemporary thinking. Yet there has never been a comprehensive exploration of the thought of this seminal philosopher and psychologist. In Experiencing William James, renowned scholar James Campbell provides the fuller and more complete analysis that James scholarship has long needed.

Commentators typically address only pieces of James’s thought or aspects of his vision, often in an attempt to make the task of understanding James seem easier than it is or else to dismiss him as a philosophically unprepared if well-meaning amateur. The isolated nature of these examinations, too often divorced from the original contexts, badly hinders and even distorts their conclusions. Focusing on James’s own ideas rather than his critiques of others, and drawing from a wealth of scholarship that includes the completed editions of his writings and correspondence, Experiencing William James provides an invaluable, comprehensive view of James as he participates in and advances the pragmatic spirit that is at the core of American philosophy. Taking the whole of the man’s thinking into account, this book offers the richest perspective so far on this great but not fully comprehended intellectual.


James Campbell has provided us with a book on the philosophy of William James that is without peer. It is the first book ever to discuss the philosophy of James in all of its contentions, parameters, and matters notably controversial. Nothing in the vast and conflicted literature pertaining to James can match the scholarship, the range, the clarity, the research of this volume.

John J. McDermott, Texas A&M University, editor of The Writings of William James

With Experiencing William James, the third volume of his superb effort to comprehensively explain America's most public-spirited philosophers, James Campbell reconfirms his status as our wisest guide to what matters in American pragmatism. Campbell embraces James wholly, but not uncritically, which is the only way James would want to be embraced. Always indefatigable in his scholarship, Campbell has worked his way through the new editions of James's work--the payoff is a convincing vision of James's ongoing and paramount importance.

Carlin Romano, Ursinus College, University of Pennsylvania

In this one book Campbell (Univ. of Toledo) provides a comprehensive, concise, and balanced treatment of the full breadth of James's writings.... In this reviewer's opinion, this is the best available resource on the work of William James. Summing Up: Essential


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