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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Throughout his career in psychology and philosophy, William James consistently based his insights on natural facts. He began his career as a scientist, earning a medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1869 on his path toward learning physiology for psychological understanding. In his youth and for the rest of his life, he also engaged in alternative medical practices. He found value in both scientific and “sectarian” medicine, with each attending to different parts of natural experience and each empirical, with experimental and experiential access to natural facts. From scientific medicine, he learned methods of rigorous specialized inquiry and the importance supporting speculation with factual material evidence, and from sectarian medicine, he learned about the range of lived natural experiences and their interactions. Most significantly, immersion in the medical marketplace of his time encouraged his non-dualist way of understanding the natural world with interaction of material facts and non-material mind and emotions. His immersion in medical practices prepared him for both his contributions to professional psychology and philosophy, and his explorations of alternative consciousness in religious beliefs and depth psychology. Throughout, he maintained fidelity to the facts of experience.

Keywords: experience, empiricism, scientific medicine, sectarian/alternative medicine, clinical medicine, physiology, psychophysical parallelism, holism, materialism, non-dualism of body and mind

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