Talk:William James

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Carving nature at its joint[edit]

Anyone knows whether the expression "carving nature at its joint" is attributable to James? -noizy

No, I believe it's Plato/Socrates. --Jldb

Duplication of Quote[edit]

The following quotation appeared twice on the William James page:

"Keep the faculty of effort alive in you by a little gratuitous exercise every day. That is, be systematically ascetic or heroic in little unnecessary points, do every day or two something for no other reason than that you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test."<p.>This quote was referenced to both Principles of Psychology (1890) and Talks to Teachers to Psychology: and to Students on Some of Life's Ideals (1899). In researching to see which source was correct, it turns out that both of them are. Here is the link to the Talks to Teachers quote source and here is the link to the quote source in Principles of Psychology. In his Preface to the Talks to Teachers, he wrote:

"Readers acquainted with my larger books on Psychology will meet much familiar phraseology. In the chapters on habit and memory I have even copied several pages verbatim, but I do not know that apology is needed for such plagiarism as this."

Since there's no real point in including both quotes on the page, I will leave it with its first appearance, i.e, the Principles of Psychology and will delete the duplicate quote. - InvisibleSun 04:28, 10 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Michele or Guido ?[edit]

On the page William James, there is a link to this picture, ascribed to "Reni Michele", but the sentence of William James (quoted in this article) is : "In the Louvre there is a picture, by Guido Reni, of St. Michael with his foot on Satan's neck."
This picture is reproduced in the Wikipedia article Guido Reni.
Another (less good) reproduction of the same image is also on Commons, with more informations.
Following William James, the painting is in the Louvre, but it is said here that it is in Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini (Rome). Two versions of the same painting ?
In any case, I think the Christian name is Guido, not Michele.
Pity that, on Commons, the best documentation is for the baddest reproduction.
Marvoir 07:58, 20 July 2008 (UTC)[reply]


Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote from this list please move it to William James. --Antiquary 19:33, 21 January 2009 (UTC)[reply]

  • The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.
  • A difference which makes no difference is no difference at all.
  • A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
Earliest occurence available onlineː "William James wrote that a great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." inː Trust Management Update (1983), Issues 63–80, page civ. --Omnipaedista (talk) 19:45, 20 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Garson O'Toole (the Quote Investigator) concluded that this quote should probably be attributed to William Fitzjames Oldham.--Hughh (talk) 17:51, 29 June 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use.


Inconsistent formatting[edit]

I don't understand why some entries are in bold, and others are not. 02:19, 21 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]

As with the selection of quotes in the articles, the bolding is a matter of presentation, largely determined by the editors themselves. This is an option in the presentation process which has always been permitted at Wikiquote, as a means of diminishing visual monotony, and permitting emphasis of quotes and particular parts of quotes. ~ Upuaut 03:52, 21 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]

About the unity of humans[edit]

One can find those two quotes attributed to James on the web : “Our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest, which co-mingle their roots in the darkness underground.” or more commonly "We are like islands in the sea; separate on the surface but connected in the deep" (quoted as so by the philosopher E. Laszlo). Isn't it a false quote ? If not, does anyone know the source ? - HD

Source: [1] ~ DanielTom (talk) 10:38, 5 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you ! As often, the "quote" has been altered and the original is richer. It also coresponds more clearly to a famous quote of John Donne : "no man is an island...". So should not this quote be in the page of important quotes ? - HD
You're welcome. I added it, per your suggestion. ~ DanielTom (talk) 20:06, 5 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Good ! - HD

Dubious attribution, beautiful quotation[edit]

Here [2] is attributed to William James the phrase: "Faith is the greatest cure for anxiety"

Can any establish this quotation's authorship?

Thanks, IOHANNVSVERVS (talk) 15:38, 14 December 2015 (UTC)[reply]

There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true Self.[edit]

Is this really a William James quote? What is its source? This is a common quote attributed by many to William James. I cannot find a source for it despite a thorough search. It does not appear in Wikiquote, and could not be found on Google books, even though I looked for many small segments from the quote. I like the quote and would like to read the original source.