On Waves of Religious Experience: The Varieties of Religious Experience

Ondřej Vrabeľ

Abstract


The paper presents a philosophical analysis of William James’ conception of religious experience developed in his celebrated book The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902). The text follows the content of Varieties, reconstructs James’ approach to the study of religious experience and reflects on the author’s noted statements. It explores mysticism, philosophy and Science of Religions – the possible warrantors of personal religious experience, respectively. More than a hundred years have passed since the first edition of the book. However, James’ work remains an important source of inspiration for many scholars and researchers. The primary objective of this paper is to provide – through historiographical analysis of James’ thought – an elementary insight into the study of religious experiences and clarify the argumentation in Varieties. The paper also features a brief introduction to the reflection of James’ thought in currently conducted neuro-research of religious experience.

Keywords


William James, psychology of religion, religious experience, mysticism, Science of Religions, right to believe, neurotheology, neuroscience of religion

https://doi.org/10.5817/pf17-1-1585

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Published by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
ISSN: 1212-9097