William James, Into the Light and Dark—with Eileen Murphy, MD

As professor of psychology at Harvard, William James became the most famous American psychologist and philosopher of his time and is still considered to be among the most insightful and stimulating of American philosophers, as well as one of the three great pragmatists (with Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey). His focus was psychological rather than theological, and his work influenced Jung’s theories of the psychology of religion, the collective unconscious, and the self. In his classic work, The Varieties of Religious Experience, James defines religion as the feelings, acts, and experiences of individuals in their solitude, as they apprehend themselves in relationship to the divine. He distinguishes between “healthy-minded souls” and “sick souls” as two extreme types of religious consciousness, the former characterized by optimistic joy and the latter by morbid pessimism. We have much to discuss on religion here, with James and Jung

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