* William James
* Theory of Behaviorism
* Structuralism or Voluntarism
William James was born in New York City on January 11, 1842. His father was a rich man who spent his time entertaining the intellectuals of the time and discussing the religious mysticism of Swedenborg. This wonderful atmosphere for a bright young boy was thanks to his grandfather, an Irish immigrant with a knack for real estate investment! William was soon joined by a younger brother, Henry, who would grow up to be one of America’s premier novelists. All the James children were sent to European boarding schools and traveled through all the great capitals.
At 19, after a stint as an art student, James enrolled at Harvard in chemistry, which he soon changed to medicine. He was not really interested in a career in medicine, but wanted to study the science that went with it.
In 1865, he took advantage of a marvelous opportunity to travel the Amazon River basin with the great biologist Louis Agassiz, to collect samples of new species. While there, he began to suffer from a variety of health problems. In 1867, he went to study physiology in Germany, under Helmholtz and others. He befriended several notable early German psychologists, including Carl Stumpf. On the other hand, he had little respect for Herbert Spencer, Wilhelm Wundt, G. E. Müller, and others.
In Germany, he began to suffer from serious depression, accompanied by thoughts of suicide. In addition, he had serious back pain, insomnia, and dyspepsia. In 1869, he came back to the US to finish up his MD degree, but continued to be plagued by depression. He had been reading a book by a French philosopher named Renouvier, which convinced him... [continues]
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