William James

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  • William James
    • Attributes of Religious Experience
      • Transcience
        • The actual experience is quite short - it doesn't last more than a few hours
        • The effect of the experience could last a lifetime.
      • Noetic Quality
        • Having a RE has made the person realise that things could not have been reached without reason
        • The truth is revealed to the person
      • Ineffability
        • It is impossible to explain a RE using only the words that we know
      • Passivity
        • The person having the RE feels as though it is being controlled by outside of themselves
        • They are recipients, not instigators.
    • A RE does not prove anything
      • It is reasonable to believe that there is a personal God who is interested in the world and in individuals.
        • James explained this as a hypothesis
      • James explained this as a hypothesis
    • A RE is a psychological phenomena occurring in the brain.
      • This doesn't mean that they are just a phenomena.
    • It is not reasonable for scholars or ordinary people to reject clear evidence of RE just b/c they started from a position of scepticism
    • They can be a supernatural element as well as a physical element.
    • Empiricism
      • WJ'S case studies provide evidence of the effects of RE
      • Provides clues to the reality beyond what we see and hear.
    • Pluralism
      • All faiths are similar, they all experience the same reality, just interpret it differently
    • Pragmatism
      • There is truth to be found in religion
      • The truth is not fixed
        • The truth is whatever has great value to us.


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