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The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902 (Economy Editions)

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The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902 (Economy Editions) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

After completing his monumental work, The Principles of Psychology, William James turned his attention to serious consideration of such important religious and philosophical questions as the nature and existence of God, immortality of the soul, and free will and determinism. His interest in these questions found expression in various works, including The Varieties of Religious Experience, his classic study of spirituality. Based on the prestigious Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion he gave at the University of Edinburgh in 1901 and 1902, the book--studded with richly concrete examples--documents and discusses various religious states of consciousness and covers such topics as the meaning of the term "divine," the reality of the unseen, the religion of healthy-mindedness, the sick soul, the divided self and the process of its unification, conversion, saintliness, and mysticism. One of the author's most popular works, The Varieties of Religious Experience remains one of the great books on the subject, especially noteworthy for the evidence it gives for religious experience as a unique phenomenon. This Dover edition will be the least expensive one in print. Unabridged republication of the second edition of The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, originally published by Longmans, Green and Co., New York, 1902. Index.

Book News Annotation:

<:st>Previous editions are cited in . Originally published by Longmans, Green and Co. of New York in 1902. This handy and inexpensive Dover edition provides those interested in philosophy with an opportunity to own James's classic work.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

First-rate study of spirituality documents and discusses a variety of religious states of consciousness, covering the meaning of the term "divine," reality of the unseen, religion of healthy-mindedness, sick soul, divided self and process of its unification, conversion, saintliness, and mysticism. Studded with richly concrete examples; a classic of its genre.

Table of Contents

LECTURE I RELIGION AND NEUROLOGY

  "Introduction: the course is not anthropological, but deals with personal documents"

  Questions of fact and questions of value

  "In point of fact, the religious are often neurotic"

  "Criticism of medical materialism, which condemns religion on that account"

  Theory that religion has a sexual origin but by the value of their refuted

  All states of mind are neurally conditioned

  Their significance must be tested not by their origin but by the value of their fruits

  Three criteria of value ; origin useless as a criterion

  Advantages of the psychopathic temperament when a superior intellect goes with it

  Especially for the religious life

LECTURE II CIRCUMSCRIPTION OF THE TOPIC

  Futility of simple definitions of religion

  No one specific 'religious sentiment'

  Institutional and personal religion

  We confine ourselves to the personal branch

  Definition of religion for the purpose of these lectures

  Meaning of the term 'divine'

  The divine is what prompts solemn reactions

  Impossible to make our definitions sharp

  We must study the more extreme cases

  Two ways of accepting the universe

  Religion is more enthusiastic than philosophy

  Its characteristic is enthusiasm in solemn emotion

  Its ability to overcome unhappiness

  Need of such a faculty from the biological point of view

LECTURE III THE REALITY OF THE UNSEEN

  Precepts versus abstract concepts

  Influence of the latter on belief

  Kant's theological Ideas

  We have a sense of reality other than that given by the special senses

  Examples of 'sense of presence'

  The feeling of unreality

  Sense of a divine presence : examples

  Mystical experiences : examples

  Other cases of sense of God's presence

  Convincingness of unreasoned experience

  Inferiority of rationalism in establishing belief

  Either enthusiasm or solemnity may preponderate in the religious attitude of individuals

LECTURES IV AND V THE RELIGION OF HEALTHY-MINDEDNESS

  Happiness is man's chief concern

  Once-born' and 'twice-born' characters

  Walt Whitman

  Mixed nature of Greek feeling

  Systematic healthy-mindedness

  Its reasonableness

  Liberal Christianity shows it

  Optimism as encouraged by Popular Science

  The 'Mind-cure' movement

  Its creed

  Cases

  Its doctrine of evil

  Its analogy to Lutheran theology

  Salvation by relaxation

  Its methods : suggestion

  mediation

  recollection'

  verification

  Diversity of possible schemes of adaptation to the universe

  APPENDIX: Two mind-cure cases

LECTURES VI AND VII THE SICK SOUL

  Healthy-mindedness and repentance

  Essential pluralism of the healthy-minded philosophy

  Morbid-mindedness?its two degrees

  The pain-threshold varies in individuals

  Insecurity of natural goods

  "Failure, or vain success of every life"

  Pessimism of all pure naturalism

  Hopelessness of Greek and Roman view

  Pathological unhappiness

  Anhedonia'

  Querulous melancholy

  Vital zest is a pure gift

  Loss of it makes physical world look different

  Tolstoy

  Bunyan

  Alline

  Morbid fear

  Such cases need a supernatural religion for relief

  Antagonism of healthy-mindedness and morbidness

  The problem of evil cannot be escaped

"LECTURE VIII THE DIVIDED SELF, AND THE PROCESS OF ITS UNIFICATION"

  Heterogeneous personality

  Character gradually attains unity

  Examples of divided self

  The unity attained need not be religious

  Counter conversion' cases

  Other cases

  Gradual and sudden unification

  Tolstoy's recovery

  Bunyan's

LECTURE IX CONVERSION

  Case of Stephen Bradley

  The psychology of characterchanges

  Emotional excitements make new centres of personal energy

  Schematic ways of representing this

  Starbuck likens conversion to normal moral ripening

  Leuba's ideas

  Seemingly unconvertible persons

  Two types of conversion

  Subconscious incubation of motives

  Self-surrender

  Its importance in religious history

  Cases

LECTURE X CONVERSION?concluded

  Cases of sudden conversion

  Is suddenness essential?

  "No, it depends on psychological idiosyncrasy"

  "Proved existence of transmarginal, or subliminal, consciousness"

  Automatisms'

  Instantaneous conversions seem due to the possession of an active subconscious self by the subject

  "The value of conversion depends not on the process, but on the fruits"

  These are not superior in sudden conversion

  Professor Coe's views

  Sanctification as a result

  Our psychological account does not exclude direct presence of the Deity

  Sense of higher control

  Relations of the emotional 'faith-state' to intellectual beliefs

  Leuba quoted

  Characteristics of the faith-state : sense of truth ; the world appears new

  Sensory and motor automatisms

  Permanency of conversions

"LECTURES XI, XII, AND XIII SAINTLINESS"

  Sainte-Beuve on the State of Grace

  Types of character as due to the balance of impulses and inhibitions

  Sovereigh excitements

  Irascibility

  Effects of higher excitement in general

  The saintly life is ruled by spiritual excitement

  This may annul sensual impulses permanently

  Probable subconscious influences involved

  Mechanical scheme for representing permanent alteration in character

  Characteristics of saintliness

  Sense of reality of a higher power

  "Peace of mind, charity"

  "Equanimity, fortitude, etc."

  Connection of this with relaxation

  Purity of life

  Asceticism

  Obedience

  Poverty

  The sentiments of democracy and of humanity

  General effects of higher excitements

LECTURES XIV AND XV THE VALUE OF SAINTLINESS

  It must be tested by the human value of its fruits

  "The reality of the God must, however, also be judged"

  Unfit' religions get eliminated by 'experience'

  Empiricism is not skepticism

  Individual and tribal religion

  Loneliness of religious originators

  Corruption follows success

  Extravagances

  "Excessive devoutness, as fanaticism as theopathic absorption"

  Excessive purity

  Excessive charity

  The perfect man is adapted only to the perfect environment

  Saints are leavens

  Excesses of asceticism

  Asceticism symbolically stands for the heroic life

  Militarism and voluntary poverty as possible equivalents

  Pros and cons of the saintly character

  Saints versus 'strong' men

  Their social function must be considered

  "Abstractly the saint is the highest type, but in the present environment it may fail, so we make ourselves saints at our peril"

  The question of theological truth

LECTURES XVI AND XVII MYSTICISM

  Mysticism defined

  Four marks of mystic states

  They form a distinct region of consciousness

  Examples of their lower grades

  Mysticism and alcohol

  The an&aelig;sthetic revelation'

  Religious mysticism

  Aspects of Nature

  Consciousness of God

  Cosmic consciousness'

  Yoga

  Buddhistic mysticism

  Suf

  Christian mystics

  Their sense of revelation

  Tonic effects of mystic states

  They describe by negatives

  Sense of union with the Absolute

  Mysticism and music

  Three conclusions

  (1) Mystical states carry authority for him who has them

  (2) But for no one else

  (3) "Nevertheless, they break down the exclusive authority of rationalistic states"

  They strengthen monistic and optimistic hypotheses

LECTURE XVIII PHILOSOPHY

  "Primacy of feeling in religion, philosophy being a secondary function"

  Intellectualism professes to escape subjective standards in her theological constructions

  Dogmatic theology'

  Criticism of its account of God's attributes

  Pragmatism' as a test of the value of conceptions

  God's metaphysical attributes have no practical significance

  His moral attributes are proved by bad arguments ; collapse of systematic theology

  Does transcendental idealism fare better? Its principles

  Quotations from John Caird

  "They are good as restatements of religious experience, but uncoercive as reasoned proof"

  What philosophy can do for religion by transforming herself into 'science of religions'

LECTURE XIX OTHER CHARACTERISTICS

  &AElig;sthetic elements in religion

  Contrast of Catholicism and Protestantism

  Sacrifice and Confession

  Prayer

  Religion holds that spiritual work is really effected in prayer

  Three degrees of opinion as to what is effected

  First degree

  Second degree

  Third degree

  "Automatisms, their frequency among religious leaders"

  Jewish cases

  Mohammed

  Joseph Smith

  Religion and the subconscious region in general

LECTURE XX CONCLUSIONS

  Summary of religious characteristics

  Men's religions need not be identical

  "The science of religions' can only suggest, not proclaim, a religious creed"

  Is religion a 'survival' of primitive thought?

  Modern science rules out the concept of personality

  Anthropomorphism and belief in the personal characterized pre-scientific thought

  "Personal forces are real, in spite of this"

  "Scientific objects are abstractions, only individualized experiences are concrete"

  Religion holds by the concrete

  Primarily religion is a biological reaction

  Its simplest terms are an uneasiness and a deliverance ; description of the deliverance

  Question of the reality of the higher power

  The author's hypotheses:

  1. The subconscious self as intermediating between nature and the higher region

  2. "The higher region, or 'God'"

  3. He produces real effects in nature

POSTSCRIPT

  Philosophic position of the present work defined as piecemeal supernaturalism

  Criticism of universalistic supernaturalism

  Different principles must occasion differences in fact

  What differences in fact can God's existence occasion?

  The question of immorality

  Question of God's uniqueness and infinity : religious experience does not settle this question in the affirmative

  The pluralistic hypothesis is more conformed to common sense

INDEX

Product Details

ISBN:
9780486421643
Author:
James, William
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Author:
James
Author:
James, Matthew
Author:
James, Matthew Thomas
Location:
Mineola, N.Y.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Spirituality
Subject:
Philosophy and religion
Subject:
Psychology, Religious
Subject:
Experience (religion)
Subject:
Experience
Subject:
Conversion
Subject:
Spirituality - General
Subject:
General Philosophy
Subject:
General Philosophy
Subject:
Religion Comparative-General
Subject:
Religious
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Dover Value Editions
Series Volume:
21
Publication Date:
20020831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.19 in 1.13 lb

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The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902 (Economy Editions) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 544 pages Dover Publications - English 9780486421643 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
First-rate study of spirituality documents and discusses a variety of religious states of consciousness, covering the meaning of the term "divine," reality of the unseen, religion of healthy-mindedness, sick soul, divided self and process of its unification, conversion, saintliness, and mysticism. Studded with richly concrete examples; a classic of its genre.
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