William James and his Swedenborgian and transcendentalist legacy

An evening lecture presented by:

Eugene Taylor, Ph.D.
Executive Faculty, Saybrook Graduate School

$10 at the door or contact Smartix
Students $5

Thursday, April 30, 2009 @ 7:30 PM
The New York New Church
114 East 35th Street
New York, NY 10016

Prof. Taylor is internationally known for his work on the American Philosopher-Psychologist, William James and his scholarship regarding Swedenborg’s influence on 19th Century American popular culture.

On his topic for the evening, Prof. Taylor says: “Harvard Professor William James, MD, with his monumental Principles of Psychology (1890) became a God father to the launch of psychology as an experimental science in the US in the late 19th century; he was a co-founder with Charles Peirce of Pragmatism, the first uniquely American philosophy to have international consequences, and with John Dewey and others a primary intellectual force behind the American Progressive Era. His Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) was the first text in the new psychology of religion to take religious experience seriously from a scientific point of view, and as a pioneer in the scientific investigation of human physiology, psychic phenomena, and dynamic theories of the subconscious, James helped launch the modern field of psychotherapeutics. As a professor at Harvard he became a guide and mentor to generations of famous Americans, among them, Teddy Roosevelt, Walter Lippman, Helen Keller, and W.E.B. DuBois.

His father Henry James, Sr., an interpreter of Swedenborg, and his God-Father, the Concord transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, bequeathed to James an intuitive, psycho-spiritual legacy of character formation that James was forced to accommodate to the more rigorous scientific dictates of the era in which his own thought matured.

Our lecture will explore the early roots of William James’s ides as a way to demonstrate the widespread but still under appreciated influence of Swedenborgian and Transcendental thought on American culture