James, William (1842–1910), U.S. philosopher and psychologist, considered the originator of the doctrine of pragmatism; brother of novelist Henry James. His first major work was Principles of Psychology (1890). Turning his attention to questions of religion, in 1902 he published The Varieties of Religious Experience, which has remained his best-known work. James's pragmatism, which he called “radical empiricism,” argued that the truth of any proposition rested on its outcome in experience, and not on any eternal principles.
See also: Pragmatism.