The Varieties of Religious Experience, or just Varieties for short is a philosophical book by William James. James's text was published in 1902, shortly after the lectures presented by James at the University of Edinburgh on which the book was based. The book collects the ideas of natural theology and the philosophy of pragmatism, the idea that religion and things like it are a way to explain things that are hard to understand or explain. The book explains how, through history, people have neglected to look at science in their study of religion.
William James was a philosopher and psychologist who attended Harvard University. Many of his ideas are controversial, such as those presented in Varieties. He is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers in United States history, as his ideas have shown up in many other places. Born on January 11, 1842, in New York City, James grew up around writers and scholars such as his godfather Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Varieties has been in print for more than 100 years, and is considered a part of Western philosophy.