Past WJS Events

Past Conferences, Symposia, Colloquia, and Panels

American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, Nov 17th
Vermont Room of Marriott Copley Place, Friday 4-6 pm
Topic: “William James as Public Intellectual”
Chair: Michael Slater (Georgetown University)

• John Kaag (University of Massachusetts – Lowell)
• Deborah Whitehead (University of Colorado – Boulder)


Society for US Intellectual History, Dallas/Plano, Texas, October 26-29
The Life and Afterlife of William James’s ‘The Moral Equivalent of War’: Contexts, Reception, Legacy” (panel), Chair/Comment: Trygve Throntveit, University of Minnesota

• Marilyn Fischer, “James’s Moral Equivalent of War: A Minor Variation on a Common Theme”

• Alexander Livingston, Cornell University, “In Search for a Moral Equivalent of War: Pragmatism and Pacifism in the American Radical Tradition”

• Paul Croce, Stetson University, “William James’s Psychological Prelude to Politics: What Place for Moral Equivalents in American Polarization on the Potomac and the Jordan?”


APA-Pacific, Seattle, Washington, April 12 – 15, 2017.
Session 1
Wednesday, 12 April, 8-10 PM, William James Society
Topic: James’s Ethics and Its Applications

• Chair: Kyle Bromhall (Independent Scholar)

•  Amy Stewart (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
“Flights from Exile: William James and the Queer Transformation of Trauma”

•  Emma McClure (University of Toronto)
“In My Thoughts and In My Words: The Morality of William James and Iris Murdoch”

• Josh Fischel (Millersville University of Pennsylvania) and Mark Uffelman (County College of Morris)
“Self-cultivation as Social Critique”

Session 2
Thursday, 13 April, 8-10 PM, William James Society
Topic: James on Process and Becoming

• Chair: Kyle Bromhall (Independent Scholar)

• Russell J. Duvernoy (University of Oregon)
“James, ‘Pure Experience’, and the Posthuman”

• Bonnie Sheehey (University of Oregon)
“Hopeful Memory: James and Bergson on Freedom and Self-Transformation”

• Ian Patrick McHugh (Fullerton College)
“James, Whitehead, and the Conditions for Actual Relationality”


Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Birmingham, AL, March 16-18.
Session IIc: Thursday, 3:00-4:40pm, William James Society
Topic: James and Du Bois

• Chair: Ermine Algaier (Harvard University)

• Saladin Ambar (Lehigh University)
“Du Bois and James at Harvard: The Challenges of Fraternal Pairing and Racial Theory”

• Harvey Cormier (Stony Brook)
“W.E. B. Du Bois, William James, and Literature”

• John Kaag (University of Massachusetts, Lowell)
“James and The Sorrow Song”



APA-Central, Kansas City, Missouri, March 1 – 4, 2017.
12:15 — 2:15 p.m., William James Society
Topic: Some New Metaphysical Problems Pragmatically Considered

• Chair: Tadd Ruetenik (St. Ambrose University)

•Randall E. Auxier (Southern Illinois University — Carbondale)
“Non-Darwinian Pragmatism”

• Brian Stanfield (John A. Logan College)
“Emersonian Genius as an Evolutionary Process”

• Tadd Ruetenik (St. Ambrose University)

“Circling the Tree: Creationism, Darwinism, and the Pragmatism of William James”


American Philosophical Association (Eastern), Baltimore, MD January 4 -7, 2017
G2A  Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Wed. 1-3 p.m.
Topic: William James

Chair: Tess Varner (Concordia College)

• Ermine Algaier (Harvard Divinity School) “Markings and Marginalia: New Advancements in Reconstructing William James’s Personal Library”

• Stephen Bush (Brown University) “Is William James a Utilitarian?”

• Daniel Brunson (Morgan State University) “Against Copy Theories of Truth: Aphantasia in James and Peirce”


American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, Texas, November 18 -22, 2016.
William James Society (Session Code: P18-321)
Convention Center-207B (2nd Level – West)
Friday 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Theme: James’s Contributions to the Study of Religion
Presiding: Michael Slater (Georgetown University)

• Stephen Bush (Brown University)
• Jeremy R. Carrette (University of Kent)
• David Lamberth (Harvard University)
• Deborah Whitehead (University of Colorado)

WJS Sponsors a Virtual Teleconference on James’s The Energies of Men.
February 25th, 2016 at 4:00 PM (EST)
Do you read more William James than anyone else you know? Do you wish you could talk about what you read with a fascinating and diverse group of readers? The William James Society is sponsoring a virtual discussion of James’s essay The Energies of Men. In this essay, James discusses the phenomenon of a “second wind” and calls for a rigorous scientific study of optimal human functioning. The text is available electronically at All WJS members are invited to attend the discussion, which will take place at 4:00 pm Eastern Time on February 25 and will be led by James Pawelski, WJS President. Sign up now, as space is limited. To register for this event, please follow this link and fill out the form:
APhilA Pacific Division, San Francisco, California, March 30- April 3, 2016

G3N William James Society

Chair: Alexander Klein (California State University, Long Beach)

• Eric Schwitzgebel (University of California, Riverside), “A Pragmatic Approach to the Metaphysics of Belief”

• Scott Aikin (Vanderbilt University), “The Will to Believe and the Problem of Deepening Dogmatism”

• Steve Levine (University of Massachusetts, Boston), “William James and Phenomenology”


APhilA Central Division, Chicago, Illinois, March 2-5, 2016

GVI-02 Sat. 12:15 – 2:15, Group Session William James Society

Chair: Tadd Reutenik (Saint Ambrose University)

• Vincent Colapietro (Pennsylvania State University), “Categoreal Improvisation: The Creative Appropriation of the Function of Radical Empiricism”

• Katie Givens Kime (Emory University) and John Snarey (Emory University), “A Jamesian Response to Reductionism in the Cognitive Science of Religion”

• Scott Aikin (Vanderbilt University) and Michael Hodges (Vanderbilt University), “Expressivism, Pragmatism and Moral Disagreement”


American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, GA, November 21-24, 2015.
Atlanta Room 2, Sheraton Downtown: Saturday, 4:00 – 6:00 pm.

Topic: William James, Politics, and Religion

• Stephen Bush (Brown University), “Democratic Individuality in William James”

• Alexander Livingston (Cornell University), “The Political Uses of William James”

• Bonnie Sheehey (University of Oregon), “The Time of Turning-Places: On the Non-Redemptive Function of William James’s Anarchic Meliorism”


13th International Conference on Persons, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA, August 3-7, 2015.                                                                                                                                                 Follow the link to see the CFP:            The program committee would very much like to see some James representation among the personalists.


Summer Institute in American Philosophy, Dublin, Ireland, June 8-13, 2015. Topic: “William James on Religion.” Chair: Alexis Diande (The New School)

• Ermine Algaier, “William James and Nineteenth Century American Spiritualism: a Historical Investigation of James’s Early Years”

• Paul Croce, “The Incarnation Writ Large: William James’s “Personal Religion,” Empirical Mysticism, and the Origins of Modern Spirituality”

• Claudio Viale, “Illuminating the Protestant Turning Point: William James on Jonathan”


APhilA Central Division 2015, St. Louis, MO. Topic: William James and Philosophy
Chair: Paul B. Cherlin (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)

• Kenneth W. Stikkers (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), “Radical Empiricism and Anti-Imperialism”

• Matthew Ryg (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), “The Nonviolence in James’ Moral Equivalent of War”

• Commentator: Steven A. Miller (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)


APhilA Pacific Division 2015, Vancouver, British Columbia. Friday Evening, April 3: 7:00 – 10:00 P.M. Chair: Alan Richardson (University of British Columbia)

• Jill Fellows (Douglas College), “Following the Serpent’s Trail: Perspectives, Plurality and Pragmatism”

• Robert Brain (University of British Columbia), “Regenerating Philosophy: James and Dewey on Physiological Aesthetics”

• Kelvin Booth (Thompson Rivers University), “William James and the Dao: Effortless Action, the Stream of Thought, and Getting Things Done”


APhilA Pacific Division 2014, San Diego, CA, Wednesday, April 16, 6PM. Topic: William James and The Religious Life

• Stephen Bush (Brown University), “The Politics of the Varieties”

• Kara Barnette (Westminster College), “Gender, Justice, and the Pluralistic Universe”
Commentator: Nate Jackson (Baylor University)


APhilA Central 2014, Chicago,Thursday, February 27, 9:00AM-12PM.
Topic: William James and Habit,
Chair: Lee McBride (College of Wooster)

• James Hitt (Saginaw Valley State University), “Habit and Social Institutions.”

• Philip Mack (Marquette University), “In Praise of Habit.”

•Sarin Marchetti (University College Dublin) “Unfamiliar Habits: James and the Ethics and Politics of Self-Experimentation.”

• Commentator: Tadd Ruetenik (St. Ambrose University)


William James Conference in Portugal, November 2010. The University of Coimbra, with the support of the Society and Tecnhology and of the Philosophy Department of the University, is sponsoring a conference on William James in November 2010. The organizers seek collaboration with members of the William James Society, and they plan presentations on pragmatic philosophy, history of pragmatism, logic, semiotics, consciousness and the stream of consciousness, the mind-body problem, and philosophy of psychology.


“In the Footsteps of William James: A Symposium to Honor – and Make Use of – James’s Ideas,” Chocorua, NH, and Cambridge, MA, August 13-16, 2010. Sponsored by the William James Society. More >>


“William James and the Transatlantic Conversation,” Oxford University, September 23-25, 2010. Keynote speakers: David A. Hollinger (Berkeley) and David C. Lambeth (Harvard). More >>


“Revisioning Pragmatism: William James in the New Millennium,” Hamburg University, Germany, June 24-26, 2010. Organizers: Susanne Rohr (Hamburg University) and Miriam Strube (Paderborn University). More >>


“What Makes a Life Significant? A Panel Discussion in Memory of William James,” Center for Government and International Studies, Harvard University, April 26, 2010. Panel consisting of Arthur Kleinman (Rabb Professor of Anthropology), Luke Menand (Bass Professor of English), and Cornel West (Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton); introduced and moderated by Jim Kloppenberg (Warren Professor of American History). More >>


James Turner, Cavanaugh Professor of Humanities and Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, will deliver the George H. Shriver Lectures on Religion in American History, Stetson University, DeLand, FL, February 9-10, 2010. The lectures are jointly sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the Department of History, with the cooperation of the William James Society.


• The Lecture Series: “The Study of Religions in America: The Early Years,” February 9 at 7:00 pm (in the Stetson Room in the CUB) and on February 10 at noon (in 25L in the Library) and 7:00 pm (in the Stetson Room).

• On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of William James, Turner will discuss, in his last lecture, how James’s Varieties of Religious Experience affected the teaching of religion in America.


The William James Society sponsored two sessions at the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, College Station, TX, March 2009:

(1) Topic: “William James: Healthy-Mindedness and the Science of Well-Being.” Chair: Paul Croce.

• James Pawelski (Pennsylvania), “William James, Healthy-Mindedness, and the Science of Well-Being.”

• James Averill (Massachusetts) and Elma P. Nunley (ACT Counseling Center), “Emotion, Creativity, and Healthy-Mindedness: Are They Compatible?”

• Stephen Fishman (University of North Carolina, Charlotte) and Lucille McCarthy (University of Maryland, Baltimore), “Positive Thinking, Positive Psychology, and The Nature of Virtue.”

• Commentator: Paul Croce.

(2) Topic: Enlarging Personality: Pedagogical, Subliminal, and Social Aspects of Healthy-Mindedness.”

• Norris Frederick (Queens University of Charlotte), William James, Talks to Teachers, and Healthy Mindedness.

• Megan Mustain (St. Mary’s), The Relations of Healthy-Mindedness: Examining the Social Character of New Thought.

• Thibaud Trochu (Université Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne), The Myers’s Problem Today.


“William James as Social and Political Philosopher” at the APhilA Central Division Meeting, Chicago, April 17, 2008, 9am-12pm.

• John Kaag (Harvard University), “A Call to Arms? William James on Militarism and Political Unity.”

• Colin Koopman (University of California, Santa Cruz), “Pragmatism’s Pluralism.”

• Andrew F. Smith (State University of New York, Stony Brook), “Communication and Conviction: James’s Contribution to Deliberative Democracy.”

• Commentator: Noelle McAfee (George Mason University).


Third Annual Atlantic Coast Pragmatist Meeting, April 5-6, 2008, University of North Carolina (Asheville). Chair: Russell Goodman (New Mexico).

• Discussion topic: William James, “What Pragmatism Means in Pragmatism.”


“William James and the Importance of Individuals” at the APhilA Eastern Division Meeting, Baltimore, December 28, 2007. Chair: Gregory Fahy (Maine-Augusta).

Presented by the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy.

• James Pawelski (Pennsylvania), “William James’s Dynamic Individualism.”

• William Gavin (Southern Maine) “Pragmatism and the Individual at the End of Life.”


“William James: Pragmatism, 1907-2007″ (Italian Centennary Conference in Celebration of the Publication of Pragmatism) November 16, 2007, Università del Salento (Lecce, Italy).

• Speakers: G. Campioni, C. Dalla Pozza, T. Foresti, S. Franzese, F. Minazzi, S. Poggi, M. Protti, T. Raffaelli, and G. Invitto.


“One Hundred Years of Pragmatism,” October 26-28, 2007, University of Saskatchewan.

Presented by the Western Canadian Philosophical Association.

• Keynote Speaker: Robert Brandom (Pittsburgh).


“William James and His Influence,” October 19-20, 2007, Yale Divinity School.

Presented by the William James Society, the Yale Department of Philosophy, and the Yale Divinity School.

• Richard Bernstein (New School), “The Ethical Implications of James’s Pluralism.”

• Peter Hare (SUNY), “Deep Conceptual Play in William James.”


“William James and Josiah Royce a Century Later: Pragmatism and Idealism in Dialogue,” May 25-27, 2007, Lowell Lecture Hall, Harvard University.

Hosted by Harvard Divinity School in conjunction with the Josiah Royce Society, the William James Society, and the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. Speakers to include John Clendenning, Harvey Cormier, Hans Joas, Jacquelyn Kegley, James Kloppenberg, David Lamberth, John Lachs, John J. McDermott, Frank Oppenheim, Hilary Putnam, Robert Richardson, Sandra Rosenthal, Linda Simon, Ignas Skrupskelis, and Cornel West.


APhilA Central Division, Chicago, April 18-21, 2007. Topic: Revisiting ‘The Will to Believe.’ Chair: Robert Talisse (Vanderbilt).

• Guy Axtell (UN-Reno), “Jamesian Pluralism, Reconsidered.”

• Scott Aikin (Vanderbilt), “Evidentialism and James’s Argument from Friendship.”

• James Bednar (UA-Hunstville), “Waiting Till Doomsday.”

• Commentator: Cheryl Misak (Toronto)


“Pragmatism Revisited: A Conference on William James,” April 13, 2007, Gasson Hall, Boston College.

• Fred Bauer (Assumption College), “James, the Kepler of Psychology.”

• Richard Cobb-Stevens (Boston College), “William James on Time and the Self.”

• Brian Treanor (Loyola-Marymount), “The Demonstrable and the Ineluctable: Pragmatism, Postmodernity, and the Leap of Faith.”

• Nicolas de Warren (Wellesley), “The Historical Context of William James’ Theory of Time-Consciousness.”


APhilA Pacific Division, San Francisco, April 3-8, 2007.
Chair: Brendan Hogan (Pacific Lutheran).

• Heidi White (NYU), “Pragmatism and Our Relations with Others.”

• Lee McBride (College of Wooster), “The Dynamic Belt of Quivering Uncertainty: Individual Differences.”

• Kevin S. Decker (Eastern Washington University), “Between Bare Brute Events and Transparent Meaning: Dewey and James on Recognition.”

• Commentator: Terrance MacMullan (Eastern Washington University).


SAAP, Columbia, SC, March 8-10, 2007. Topic: “William James – Influences, Ancestors, and Applications.”

• Paul Croce (Stetson), “From Swedenborgian Philosophy of Use to William James’s Pragmatism.”

• Tadd Ruetenik (Penn), “War-Hawking and Other Addictions: Social Criticism in Henry and William James.”

• Robert Richardson, “Pragmatism and Darwin.”


APhilA Central Division, Chicago, April 26-29, 2006. Topic: “William James’s Philosophy of Religion.” Chair: David Vessey (University of Chicago).

• S. Nassir Ghaemi (Emory University), “William James and the Psychology of Religious Experience.”

• Jacob Lynn Goodson (University of Virginia), “William James on the Doctrine of Transubstantiation.”

• Roger Ward (Georgetown College), “Jamesean Conversion.”

• Commentator: Elizabeth Cooke (Creighton University).


APhilA Pacific Division, Portland, OR, March 22-26, 2006. Topic: “William James’s Ethics.” Chair: Mark Moller (Denison).

• Wesley Cooper (Alberta), “Cerebralism and Voluntarism in James’s Will-to-Believe Doctrine.”

• Henry Jackman (York), “James, Objectivity, and Ethical Truth.”

• Todd Lekan (Muskingum College), “Strenuous Moral Living.”


The William James Society held two symposia organized by John Snarey at the APA Annual Convention, Chicago, August 2002.

• Division 26, History of Psychology. Topic: “Historical Perspectives on William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience.” Participants: Hendrika Vande Kemp, John Snarey, Marcia Ian, Lynn Bridgers, Richard L. Gorsuch, J. Ryan Snyder.

• Division 36, Psychology of Religion. Topic: “Contemporary Readings of William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience. Participants: Eugene Taylor, William Douglas Woody, Janet C. de Baca, William R. Miller, Mark Krejci, Robert Emmons, E. Mark Stern.


The William James Society sponsored a panel at the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Portland, ME, March 2002. Topic: “William James’s Varieties: Emotions as/in Religious Experience.” Chair: William Gavin.

• Phil Oliver, “Varieties of Emotional Experience: James’s Radical Turn.”

• Lynn Bridgers, “Embodied Emotion: The Centrality of Caritas in William James’s Varieties.”

• Respondent: David C. Lamberth.