The Reilly Center Program in History and Philosophy of Science, The Department of Psychology, and the Program of Liberal Studies present, “What’s Schopenhauer Got to Do with It? New Revelations about William James’s Life and Work,” a lecture by David Leary.
Leary is a University Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Richmond. A fellow and past president of several divisions of the American Psychological Association as well as a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, he has focused his research on the history of psychology, and especially on the impact of the humanities (e.g., art, literature, religion, and philosophy) on the development of modern psychology.
Though he was one of the prominent thinkers of the mid- to late-19th century—and made a difference at one point or another in the lives of such diverse 20th-century figures as Albert Einstein, Max Horkheimer, Karl Popper, and Ludwig Wittgenstein—the work of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) fell into general neglect during the past 100 years. In recent decades, however, there has been renewed interest in his work. In the last few years, Leary has made discoveries about the previously unknown influence of that work upon William James (1842-1910).
This presentation will review some of these discoveries and the new light they cast upon key incidents in James’s personal life as well as significant aspects of his professional work, including its literary style, moral tone, and substantive doctrines.