Pure Experience

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294 pages, paperback, notes, Key Issues

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Pure Experience

The Response to William James

Taylor, Eugene, editor

The radical empiricism of William James was first formally presented in his seminal papers of 1904, “Does Consciousness Exist?” and “A World of Pure Experience.” In James’s view, pure experience was to serve as the source for psychology’s primary data, and radical empiricism was to launch an effective critique of experimentalism in psychology, a critique from which the problem of experimentalism within science could be addressed more broadly. This collection of papers presents James’s formal statements on radical empiricism and a representative sample of contemporary responses from psychologists and philosophers. With only a few exceptions, these responses indicate just how badly James was misread – psychologists ignoring the heart of James’s message and philosophers transforming James’s metaphysics into something quite unintelligible to the emerging generation of experimental psychologists.