Alexis Dianda

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Barry Allen




By establishing William James' The Principles of Psychology as a significant work in the history of psychology, Streams of Thought: The Psychology of William James secures the criticisms of the traditional approaches to the theory of mind and paths a productive course for the study of the human being and his or her relation to the world. Streams of Thought explores the dismantling of the historically held distinctions between mind and body, emotion and reason, and knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge about. In place of these long-held dualisms, what is revealed in the Principles is a psychology that is rooted in a mind indistinguishable from body and a theory of knowledge that is anti-representational.

Streams of Thought follows James' initial attempt to limit the science of mental life to the positive methodology of the natural sciences and charts the difficulties that arise out of this methodology. What is argued for in this thesis is a theory of psychological and existential inquiry that refuses a reductive explanation and exalts a theory of subjectivity that is rooted in the living world. Specific topics such as perception, sensation, attention, habit, interest and belief are explored through this work and defended in such a way that their conclusions are relevant to the modem discourses of phenomenological inquiry, the philosophy of mind, and the cognitive sciences. The central discovery of this interpretation is reconciliation between our empirical human sciences and our concrete existence.

McMaster University Library

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