Date of Award
James was essentially an original thinker. Because he wrote as he tallied, much of his personal style is retained in his works. The majority of his books are merely transcriptions of his lectures. James addressed himself not to philosophers but to common people and he listened to them to find out what life meant to them. His philosophy includes that which figures largely in the experiences of common men. James felt very deeply that philosophy involved the subjective factors of temperament and personal vision. Here we see his training as artist and his involvement in psychology coming to the forefront. He placed emphasis not so much on system and idea as output or outcome and thinker. Kan and his experiences and his adaptation or disregard for and of them was of keen interest to James. His philosophy was by no means an exercise in pure abstractions and lofty ideals but instead was meant to be a helpful outline, a reference, that would aid man in the puzzlements of everyday living, aid him in the sense that he would gain insight and be a better or at least a different man because of it. He wanted to give life value. Nothing was more repulsive to him than mediocrity and half-heartedness. Kan should strive to find himself and in doing so to work to the best of his ability in his chosen life style. A man that was affected by and affecting life was truly of value to James.
O'Neill, Kevin, "William James: Psychology Of Pragmatic Man Self In A World That Has An Open End" (1973). Philosophy Undergraduate Theses. 77.