Intro is fashionably late for September: Psychology by William James

The weather is getting colder, the nights are getting shorter and it's back to NotSchool time for September. We're starting out fashionably late this month with Psychology: The Briefer Course by William James (get the text here), written in 1892 as an abridgment of his monumental Principles of Psychology. (And all this was well before he became the name brand of pragmatism, as covered in PEL's episodes on James.) We're focusing on Chapters XI and XII.

If you've got a background in the sciences and are looking for a good bridge over into the slightly more nebulous study of the Love of Knowledge, this is the text to use. If you are interested in a cogent look into the function of the self in our experience of the world, this is the text to use. If you like coffee drinks with long names, wearing all black, and Dostoevsky... well... you're beyond my help, but if you want to jump in and swing, you're still welcome!

I look forward to seeing some new handles and hearing different opinions. Join Not School and the Intro Readings in Philosophy group. The text is very scientific, so there is not a whole lot of room for interpretation as to what the author means, but this is what makes it a very good tool to shape your own philosophy. Let us know your thoughts!

-Hillary Szydlowski


  1. dmf says

    depending on how “radical” one’s empiricism is the line between laboratory-life and waxing philosophical may not be so clear, one of the values of working along with James was that in his times the academic fields weren’t yet so established into their separate bunker silos of socialization.

  2. Profile photo of Hillary Szydlowski says

    I actually believe that’s one of the things that Wittgenstein did for Philosophy- set a more rigorous standard for Philosophical works (with regards to it’s relation to reality). I suppose whether that is an asset would depend on the definition you are using for socialization :)
    so·cial·ize (ssh-lz)
    v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es
    1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
    2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
    3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society.

    But, being a fan of open source tech (and knowledge in general) I’d tend to agree with you that the wild is going to produce the most useful mutations/adaptations of thought.

    • dmf says

      see now I read Wittgenstein ultimately as an anti-foundationalist, I just mean socialization as adapting to the social norms of the group.

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