William James Quotes to understand meaning of life

William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist, and the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. James is considered to be a leading thinker of the late nineteenth century, one of the most influential philosophers of the United States, and the “Father of American psychology”. Along with Charles Sanders Peirce, James established the philosophical school known as pragmatism, and is also cited as one of the founders of functional psychology. A Review of General Psychology analysis, published in 2002, ranked James as the 14th most eminent psychologist of the 20th century. A survey published in American Psychologist in 1991 ranked James’s reputation in second place, after Wilhelm Wundt, who is widely regarded as the founder of experimental psychology. James also developed the philosophical perspective known as radical empiricism. James’s work has influenced philosophers and academics such as Émile Durkheim, W. E. B. Du Bois, Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty. Born into a wealthy family, James was the son of the Swedenborgian theologian Henry James Sr. and the brother of both the prominent novelist Henry James and the diarist Alice James. James trained as a physician and taught anatomy at Harvard, but never practiced medicine. Instead he pursued his interests in psychology and then philosophy. James wrote widely on many topics, including epistemology, education, metaphysics, psychology, religion, and mysticism. Among his most influential books are The Principles of Psychology, a Groundbreaking text in the field of psychology; Essays in Radical Empiricism, an important text in philosophy; and The Varieties of Religious Experience, an investigation of different forms of religious experience, including theories on mind-cure. We bring you the compilation of the best William James Quotes, hope you like it.

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William James Quotes to understand meaning of life

So long as the anti-militarists propose no substitute for war’s disciplinary function, no moral equivalent of war, analogous, as one might say, to the mechanical equivalent of hate, so long they fail to realise the full equities of the situation. -William James

An unlearned carpenter of my acquaintance once said in my hearing: ‘There is very little difference between one man and another, but what there is is very important.’ -William James 

The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. -William James

The thinker philosophises as the lover loves. Even were the consequences not only useless but harmful, he must obey his impulse. -William James

The exercise of prayer, in those who habitually exert it, must be regarded by us doctors as the most adequate and normal of all the pacifiers of the mind and clammers of the nerves. -William James

We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood. -William James

Fear of life in one form or another is the great thing to exorcise. -William James

The exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess Success is our national disease. -William James

Seek out that particular mental attitude which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, “This is the real me,” and when you have found that attitude, follow it. -William James

Men habitually use only a small part of the powers which they possess and which they might use under appropriate circumstances. -William James

Habit is the enormous flywheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision. Full half the time of such a man goes to the deciding, or regretting, of matters which ought to be so ingrained in him as practically not to exist for his consciousness at all. -William James 

Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that ensures the successful outcome of our venture. -William James

William James Quotes to understand meaning of life

The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature. -William James

Every time a resolve or fine glow of feeling evaporates without bearing fruit, it is worse than a chance lost; it works to hinder future emotions from taking the normal path of discharge. -William James

Human beings are born into this little span of life of which the best thing is its friendships and intimacies … and yet they leave their friendships and intimacies with no cultivation, to grow as they will by the roadside, expecting them to “keep” by force of mere inertia. -William James

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision. -William James

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. -William James

It is only by risking … that we live at all. -William James

Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. -William James

With mere good intentions hell is proverbially paved. -William James

If you want a quality, act as if you already had it. -William James

Man lives by habits indeed, but what he lives for is thrill and excitements          From time immemorial war has been the supremely thrilling excitement. -William James

Life is one long struggle between conclusions based on abstract ways of conceiving cases, and opposite conclusions prompted by our instinctive perception of them. -William James

William James Quotes to understand meaning of life

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact. -William James

Impulse without reason is not enough, and reason without impulse is a poor makeshift. -William James

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. -William James

The first thing to learn in intercourse with others is non-interference with their own peculiar ways of being happy, provided those ways do not assume to interfere with ours. -William James

The emotions are not always subject to reason … but they are always subject to action. When thoughts do not neutralise an undesirable emotion, action will. -William James

Have you been inspired by these William James quotes. If you have been enjoying our William James quotes compilation then do check out our collection of quotes from Authors similar to our William James quotes collection.

The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature. -William James

Science must constantly be reminded that her purposes are not the only purposes and that the order of uniform causation which she has use for, and is therefore right in postulating, may be enveloped in a wider order, on which she has no claim at all. -William James

An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of a revelation. -William James

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact. -William James

Faith is one of the forces by which men live; the total absence of it means collapse. -William James

The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind. -William James

William James Quotes to understand meaning of life

Need and struggle are what excite and inspire us; our hour of triumph is what brings the void. -William James

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. -William James

Footnotes, the little dogs yapping at the heels of the text. -William James 

Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. -William James

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. -William James

Have you been inspired by these William James quotes. If you have been enjoying our William James quotes compilation then do check out our collection of quotes from Authors similar to our William James quotes collection.

Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create that fact. -William James

Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed. -William James

So far war has been the only force that can discipline a whole community, and until an equivalent discipline is organised, I believe that war must have its way. -William James

Each of us is in fact what he is almost exclusively by virtue of his imitative-ness. -William James

Most men’s friendships are too inarticulate. -William James

The God of many men is little more than their court of appeal against the damnatory judgement passed on their failures by the opinion of the world. -William James


We hope this compilation of quotes took you out of your grim and helped you to reflect on yourself. There are times in our lives when pausing, getting to know who you are on a deeper level, and evaluating yourself and your progress can really open up all kinds of creative and inspirational pathways. Keep Hustling and Follow Quotes Inferno for more such quotes. Feel free to share your favorite with your friends or in the comments below.

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