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James, William (11 January 1842–26 August 1910), philosopher and psychologist, was born in New York City, the son of Henry James (1811–1882), a philosopher and religious writer, and Mary Robertson Walsh. His grandfather, William James of Albany, a penniless immigrant from Ireland, became one of the richest men in New York State by exploiting a new method of extracting salt and speculating in land along the Erie Canal. His son Henry James used his inheritance to lead a life of the mind, devoting himself to metaphysics in the grand style and publishing a number of books and essays on the relations between God and man, influenced by the Swedish seer, Emanuel Swedenborg. Henry James suffered extensive financial losses, and his five children, although heirs to some commercial property in Syracuse, New York, had to concern themselves with making a living. Besides William, there were the novelist ...