Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Alan Turing

Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS (pronounced /ˈt(j)ʊ(ə)rɪŋ/)was born on 23 June 1912 and died On 8 June 1954, his cleaner found him dead; the previous day, he had died of cyanide poisoning, apparently from a cyanide-laced apple he left half-eaten beside his bed. The apple itself was never tested for contamination with cyanide, but a post-mortem established that the cause of death was cyanide poisoning. Most believe that his death was intentional, and the death was ruled a suicide. Alan Turing’s mother, however, strenuously argued that the ingestion was accidental due to his careless storage of laboratory chemicals. Biographer Andrew Hodges suggests that Alan Turing may have killed himself in this ambiguous way quite deliberately, to give his mother some plausible deniability. Others suggest that Alan Turing was re-enacting a scene from ‘Snow White’, his favourite fairy tale. Because Alan Turing’s homosexuality would have been perceived as a security risk, the possibility of assassination has also been suggested. Alan Turing’s remains were cremated at Woking crematorium on 12 June 1954.

Alan Turing was an English mathematician, logician and cryptographer.

Alan Turing is often considered to be the father of modern computer science. Alan Turing provided an influential formalisation of the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine. With the Turing test, meanwhile, he made a significant and characteristically provocative contribution to the debate regarding artificial intelligence: whether it will ever be possible to say that a machine is conscious and can think. Alan Turing later worked at the National Physical Laboratory, creating 1 of the 1st designs for a stored-program computer, the ACE, although it was never actually built in its full form. In 1948, he moved to the University of Manchester to work on the Manchester Mark I, then emerging as one of the world’s earliest true computers.

During the Second World War Turing worked at Bletchley Park, the UK’s codebreaking centre, and was for a time head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. Alan Turing devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.

Alan Turing was homosexual, living in an era when homosexuality was still both illegal and officially considered a mental illness. Subsequent to his being outed, he was criminally prosecuted, which essentially ended his career. Alan Turing died not long after, under what some believe were ambiguous circumstances.

Alan Turing was conceived in Chhatrapur, Orissa, India. Alan Turing’s father, Julius Mathison Turing, was a member of the Indian Civil Service. Julius and wife Sara 1881 – 1976, daughter of Edward Waller Stoney, chief engineer of the Madras Railways wanted Alan Turing to be brought up in England, so they returned to Maida Vale, London, where Alan Turing was born 23 June 1912, as recorded by a blue plaque on the outside of the building, now the Colonnade Hotel. Alan Turing had an elder brother, John. Alan Turing’s father’s civil service commission was still active, and during Alan Turing’s childhood years his parents travelled between Guildford, England and India, leaving their 2 sons to stay with friends in Hastings in England. Very early in life, Alan Turing showed signs of the genius he was to display more prominently later.

Alan Turing’s parents enrolled him at St Michael’s, a day school, at the age of 6. The headmistress recognised his genius early on, as did many of his subsequent educators. In 1926, at the age of 14, he went on to Sherborne School, a famous and expensive public school in Dorset. Alan Turing’s 1st day of term coincided with the General Strike in England, but so determined was he to attend his 1st day that he rode his bicycle unaccompanied more than 60 miles (97 km) from Southampton to school, stopping overnight at an inn.

Alan Turing’s natural inclination toward mathematics and science did not earn him respect with some of the teachers at Sherborne, whose definition of education placed more emphasis on the classics. Alan Turing’s headmaster wrote to his parents: “I hope he will not fall between 2 schools. If he is to stay at public school, he must aim at becoming educated. If he is to be solely a Scientific Specialist, he is wasting his time at a public school”.

Despite this, Alan Turing continued to show remarkable ability in the studies he loved, solving advanced problems in 1927 without having even studied elementary calculus. In 1928, aged 16, Alan Turing encountered Albert Einstein’s work; not only did he grasp it, but he extrapolated Albert Einstein’s questioning of Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion from a text in which this was never made explicit.

Alan Turing’s hopes and ambitions at school were raised by the close friendship he developed with a slightly older fellow student, Christopher Morcom, who was Alan Turing’s 1st love interest. Christopher Morcom died suddenly only a few weeks into their last term at Sherborne, from complications of bovine tuberculosis, contracted after drinking infected cow’s milk as a boy. Alan Turing’s religious faith was shattered and he became an atheist. Alan Turing adopted the conviction that all phenomena, including the workings of the human brain, must be materialistic.

Alan Turing’s unwillingness to work as hard on his classical studies as on science and mathematics meant he failed to win a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, and went on to the college of his 2nd choice, King’s College, Cambridge. Alan Turing was an undergraduate there from 1931 to 1934, graduating with a distinguished degree, and in 1935 was elected a fellow at King’s on the strength of a dissertation on the central limit theorem.

In his momentous paper “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem”(submitted on 28 May 1936), Alan Turing reformulated Kurt Gödel’s 1931 results on the limits of proof and computation, replacing Kurt Gödel’s universal arithmetic-based formal language with what are now called Turing machines, formal and simple devices. Alan Turing proved that some such machine would be capable of performing any conceivable mathematical problem if it were representable as an algorithm, even if no actual Turing machine would be likely to have practical applications, being much slower than practically realisable alternatives.

Turing machines are to this day the central object of study in theory of computation. Alan Turing went on to prove that there was no solution to the Entscheidungs problem by 1st showing that the halting problem for Turing machines is undecidable: it is not possible to decide, in general, algorithmically whether a given Turing machine will ever halt. While his proof was published subsequent to Alonzo Church’s equivalent proof in respect to his lambda calculus, Alan Turing’s work is considerably more accessible and intuitive. It was also novel in its notion of a ‘Universal (Turing) Machine’, the idea that such a machine could perform the tasks of any other machine. The paper also introduces the notion of definable numbers.

Most of 1937 and 1938 he spent at Princeton University, studying under Alonzo Church. In 1938 he obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton; his dissertation introduced the notion of relative computing where Turing machines are augmented with so-called oracles, allowing a study of problems that cannot be solved by a Turing machine.

Back in Cambridge in 1939, he attended lectures by Ludwig Wittgenstein about the foundations of mathematics. The 2 argued and disagreed, with Alan Turing defending formalism and Ludwig Wittgenstein arguing that mathematics does not discover any absolute truths but rather invents them.

During the Second World War, Alan Turing was a main participant in the efforts at Bletchley Park to break German ciphers. Building on cryptanalysis work carried out in Poland by Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski from Cipher Bureau before the war, he contributed several insights into breaking both the Enigma machine and the Lorenz SZ 40/42 (a Teletype cipher attachment codenamed “Tunny” by the British), and was, for a time, head of Hut 8, the section responsible for reading German naval signals.

Since September 1938, Alan Turing had been working part-time for the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS), the British code breaking organisation. Alan Turing worked on the problem of the German Enigma machine, and collaborated with Dilly Knox, a senior GCCS codebreaker. On 4 September 1939, the day after the UK declared war on Germany, Alan Turing reported to Bletchley Park, the wartime station of GCCS.

Within weeks of arriving at Bletchley Park, Alan Turing had designed an electromechanical machine which could help break Enigma faster than bomba from 1932, the bombe, named after and building upon the original Polish-designed bomba. The bombe, with an enhancement suggested by mathematician Gordon Welchman, became one of the primary tools, and the major automated one, used to attack Enigma-protected message traffic.

Professor Jack Good, cryptanalyst working at the time with Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, later said: “Turing’s most important contribution, I think, was of part of the design of the bombe, the cryptanalytic machine. He had the idea that you could use, in effect, a theorem in logic which sounds to the untrained ear rather absurd; namely that from a contradiction, you can deduce everything.”

The bomb searched for possibly correct settings used for an Enigma message (i.e., rotor order, rotor settings, etc.), and used a suitable “crib”: a fragment of probable plaintext. For each possible setting of the rotors (which had of the order of 1019 states, or 1022 for the U-boat Enigmas which eventually had 4 rotors, compared to the usual Enigma variant’s 3), the bomb performed a chain of logical deductions based on the crib, implemented electrically. The bomb detected when a contradiction had occurred, and ruled out that setting, moving onto the next. Most of the possible settings would cause contradictions and be discarded, leaving only a few to be investigated in detail. Alan Turing’s bomb was 1st installed on 18 March 1940. Over 200 bombs were in operation by the end of the war.

In December 1940, Alan Turing solved the naval Enigma indicator system, which was more mathematically complex than the indicator systems used by the other services. Alan Turing also invented a Bayesian statistical technique termed “Banburismus” to assist in breaking Naval Enigma. Banburismus could rule out certain orders of the Enigma rotors, reducing time needed to test settings on the bombs.

In the spring of 1941, Alan Turing proposed marriage to Hut 8 co-worker Joan Clarke, although the engagement was broken off by mutual agreement in the summer.

In July 1942, Alan Turing devised a technique termed Turingismus or Turingery for use against the Lorenz cipher used in the Germans’ new Geheimschreiber machine (“secret writer”) which was one of those codenamed “Fish”. Alan Turing also introduced the Fish team to Tommy Flowers who under the guidance of Max Newman, went on to build the Colossus computer, the world’s 1st programmable digital electronic computer, which replaced simpler prior machines (including the “Heath Robinson”) and whose superior speed allowed the brute-force decryption techniques to be applied usefully to the daily-changing cyphers. A frequent misconception is that Alan Turing was a key figure in the design of Colossus; this was not the case.

Alan Turing travelled to the United States in November 1942 and worked with U.S. Navy cryptanalysts on Naval Enigma and bombe construction in Washington, and assisted at Bell Labs with the development of secure speech devices. Alan Turing returned to Bletchley Park in March 1943. During his absence, Hugh Alexander had officially assumed the position of head of Hut 8, although Hugh Alexander had been de facto head for some time — Alan Turing having little interest in the day-to-day running of the section. Alan Turing became a general consultant for cryptanalysis at Bletchley Park.

In the latter part of the war, while teaching himself electronics at the same time, and assisted by engineer Donald Bayley, Alan Turing undertook the design of a portable machine codenamed Delilah to allow secure voice communications. It was intended for different applications, lacking capability for use with long-distance radio transmissions, and in any case, Delilah was completed too late to be used during the war. Though Alan Turing demonstrated it to officials by encrypting/decrypting a recording of a Winston Churchill speech, Delilah was not adopted for use.

In 1945, Alan Turing was awarded the OBE for his wartime services, but his work remained secret for many years. A biography published by the Royal Society shortly after his death recorded:

“3 remarkable papers written just before the war, on 3 diverse mathematical subjects, show the quality of the work that might have been produced if he had settled down to work on some big problem at that critical time. For his work at the Foreign Office he was awarded the OBE.”

From 1945 to 1947 he was at the National Physical Laboratory, where he worked on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine). Alan Turing presented a paper on 19 February 1946, which was the 1st detailed design of a stored-program computer. Although ACE was a feasible design, the secrecy surrounding the wartime work at Bletchley Park led to delays in starting the project and he became disillusioned. In late 1947 he returned to Cambridge for a sabbatical year. While he was at Cambridge, the Pilot ACE was built in his absence. It executed its 1st program on 10 May 1950.

In 1948 he was appointed Reader in the Mathematics Department at Manchester and in 1949 became deputy director of the computing laboratory at the University of Manchester, and worked on software for one of the earliest true computers — the Manchester Mark I. During this time he continued to do more abstract work, and in “Computing machinery and intelligence” (Mind, October 1950), Alan Turing addressed the problem of artificial intelligence, and proposed an experiment now known as the Turing test, an attempt to define a standard for a machine to be called “intelligent”. The idea was that a computer could be said to “think” if it could fool an interrogator into thinking that the conversation was with a human.

In 1948, Alan Turing, working with his former undergraduate colleague, D.G. Champernowne, began writing a chess program for a computer that did not yet exist. In 1952, lacking a computer powerful enough to execute the program, Alan Turing played a game in which he simulated the computer, taking about half an hour per move. The game was recorded; the program lost to Alan Turing’s colleague Alick Glennie, although it is said that it won a game against Champernowne’s wife.

Alan Turing worked from 1952 until his death in 1954 on mathematical biology, specifically morphogenesis. Alan Turing published one paper on the subject called “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis” in 1952, putting forth the Turing hypothesis of pattern formation. Alan Turing’s central interest in the field was understanding Fibonacci phyllotaxis, the existence of Fibonacci numbers in plant structures. Alan Turing used reaction-diffusion equations which are now central to the field of pattern formation. Later papers went unpublished until 1992 when Collected Works of A.M. Turing was published.

Homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom and regarded as a mental illness and subject to criminal sanctions. In 1952, Arnold Murray, a 19-year-old recent acquaintance of Alan Turing’s, helped an accomplice to break into Alan Turing’s house, and Alan Turing reported the crime to the police. As a result of the police investigation, Alan Turing acknowledged a sexual relationship with Arnold Murray, and a crime having been identified and settled, Alan Turing and Arnold Murray were charged with gross indecency under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885. Alan Turing was unrepentant and was convicted of the same crime Oscar Wilde had been convicted of more than 50 years before.

Alan Turing was given a choice between imprisonment and probation, conditional on his undergoing hormonal treatment designed to reduce libido. Alan Turing accepted the estrogen hormone injections, which lasted for a year, to avoid jail. Side effects included gynecomastia (breast enlargement). Alan Turing’s conviction led to a removal of his security clearance and prevented him from continuing consultancy for GCHQ on cryptographic matters. At the time, there was acute public anxiety about spies and homosexual entrapment by Soviet agents, possibly due to the recent exposure of the Cambridge 5 as KGB double agents. ( Alan Turing was never accused of espionage.)

Since 1966, the Turing Award has been given annually by the Association for Computing Machinery to a person for technical contributions to the computing community. It is widely considered to be the computing world’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

Various tributes to Alan Turing have been made in Manchester, the city where he worked towards the end of his life. In 1994 a stretch of the A6010 road (the Manchester city intermediate ring road) was named Alan Turing Way. A bridge carrying this road was widened, and carries the name ‘Alan Turing Bridge’.

A statue of Alan Turing was unveiled in Manchester on 23 June 2001. It is in Sackville Park, between the University of Manchester building on Whitworth Street and the Canal Street ‘gay village’. A celebration of Alan Turing’s life and achievements arranged by the British Logic Colloquium and the British Society for the History of Mathematics was held on 5 June 2004 at the University of Manchester; the Alan Turing Institute was initiated in the university that summer. The building housing the School of Mathematics, the Photon Sciences Institute and the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics is named the Alan Turing Building and was opened in July 2007.

On 23 June 1998, on what would have been Alan Turing’s 86th birthday, Andrew Hodges, his biographer, unveiled an official English Heritage Blue Plaque on his childhood home in Warrington Crescent, London, now the Colonnade hotel. To mark the 50th anniversary of his death, a memorial plaque was unveiled on 7 June 2004 at his former residence, Hollymeade, in Wilmslow.

For his achievements in computing, various universities have honoured him. On 28 October 2004 a bronze statue of Alan Turing sculpted by John W Mills was unveiled at the University of Surrey in Guildford. The statue marks the 50th anniversary of Alan Turing’s death. It portrays him carrying his books across the campus. Turing Road in the University’s Research Park predates this.

The Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia, both have computer laboratories named after Alan Turing. The University of Texas at Austin has an honours computer science programme named the Turing Scholars. Istanbul Bilgi University organises an annual conference on the theory of computation called Turing Days. The computer room in King’s College, Cambridge is named the “Turing Room” after him. Carnegie Mellon University has a granite bench, situated in The Hornbostel Mall, with the name “A. M. Turing” carved across the top, “Read” down the left leg, and “Write” down the other. The Boston GLBT pride organisation named Alan Turing their 2006 Honourary Grand Marshal.

On 13 March 2000, St Vincent & The Grenadines issued a set of stamps to celebrate the greatest achievements of the 20th century, one of which carries a recognisable portrait of Alan Turing against a background of repeated 0s and 1s, and is captioned ‘1937: Alan Turing’s theory of digital computing’.

A 1.5-ton, life-size statue of Alan Turing was unveiled on 19 June 2007 at Bletchley Park. Built from approximately 500,000 pieces of Welsh slate, it was sculpted by Stephen Kettle, having been commissioned by the late American billionaire Sidney Frank.

The Turing Relay is a 6-stage relay race on riverside footpaths from Ely to Cambridge and back. These paths were used for running by Alan Turing while at Cambridge; his marathon best time was 2 hours, 46 minutes.

Experimental music duo Matmos, whose members are a homosexual couple, released a limited edition EP in 2006 entitled For Alan Turing.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more celebrities featuring shortly …………….

Bookmark and Share


Dyslexia Series-Disabled Legend William James

William James was born on 11 January, 1842 at the Astor House in New York City, New York, USA and died on 26 August, 1910 of heart failure at his home in Chocorua, New Hampshire.

William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher trained as a medical doctor. William James wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and the philosophy of pragmatism. William James was the brother of novelist Henry James and of diarist Alice James.

William James was the son of Henry James Sr., an independently wealthy and notoriously eccentric Swedenborgian theologian well acquainted with the literary and intellectual elites of his day. The intellectual brilliance of the James family milieu and the remarkable epistolary talents of several of its members have made them a subject of continuing interest to historians, biographers, and critics.

William James interacted with a wide array of writers and scholars throughout his life, including his godfather Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as Horace Greeley, William Cullen Bryant, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Charles Peirce, Josiah Royce, George Santayana, Ernst Mach, John Dewey, W. E. B. Du Bois, Helen Keller, Mark Twain, Horatio Alger, Jr., James George Frazer, Henri Bergson, H. G. Wells, G. K. Chesterton, Sigmund Freud, Gertrude Stein, and Carl Jung.

William James, with his younger brother Henry James (who became a prominent novelist) and sister Alice James (who is known for her posthumously published diary), received an eclectic trans-Atlantic education, developing fluency in both German and French languages along with a cosmopolitan character. William James’ family made 2 trips to Europe while he was still a child, setting a pattern that resulted in thirteen more European journeys during his life. William James’ early artistic bent led to an early apprenticeship in the studio of William Morris Hunt in Newport, Rhode Island, but yielded in 1861 to scientific studies at Harvard University’s Lawrence Scientific School.

In his early adulthood, William James suffered from a variety of physical ailments, including those of the eyes, back, stomach, and skin. William James was also subject to a variety of psychological symptoms which were diagnosed at the time as neurasthenia, and which included periods of depression during which he contemplated suicide for months on end. 2 younger brothers, Garth Wilkinson (Wilky) and Robertson (Bob), fought in the Civil War, but the other three siblings (William, Henry, and Alice) all suffered from periods of invalidism.

William James switched to medical studies at Harvard Medical School in 1864. William James took a break in the spring of 1865 to join Harvard’s Louis Agassiz on a scientific expedition up the Amazon River, but aborted his trip after eight months, having suffered bouts of severe seasickness and mild smallpox. William James’ studies were interrupted once again due to illness in April 1867. William James traveled to Germany in search of a cure and remained until November 1868. (During this period he began to publish, with reviews appearing in literary periodicals like the North American Review.) William James finally earned his M.D. degree in June 1869, but never practiced medicine. What he called his “soul-sickness” would only be resolved in 1872, after an extended period of philosophical searching. William James married Alice Gibbens in 1878.

William James’ time in Germany proved intellectually fertile, helping him find that his true interests lay not in medicine but in philosophy and psychology. Later, in 1902 he would write: “I originally studied medicine in order to be a physiologist, but I drifted into psychology and philosophy from a sort of fatality. I never had any philosophic instruction, the first lecture on psychology I ever heard being the first I ever gave”.

William James spent his entire academic career at Harvard. William James was appointed instructor in physiology for the spring 1873 term, instructor in anatomy and physiology in 1873, assistant professor of psychology in 1876, assistant professor of philosophy in 1881, full professor in 1885, endowed chair in psychology in 1889, return to philosophy in 1897, and emeritus professor of philosophy in 1907.

William James studied medicine, physiology, and biology, and began to teach in those subjects, but was drawn to the scientific study of the human mind at a time when psychology was constituting itself as a science. William James’s acquaintance with the work of figures like Hermann Helmholtz in Germany and Pierre Janet in France facilitated his introduction of courses in scientific psychology at Harvard University. William James taught his first experimental psychology course at Harvard in the 1875-1876 academic year.

During his Harvard years, William James joined in philosophical discussions with Charles Peirce, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Chauncey Wright that evolved into a lively group known as the Metaphysical Club by the early 1870s. Louis Menand speculates that the Club provided a foundation for American intellectual thought for decades to come.

Among William James’ students at Harvard were such luminaries as Boris Sidis, Theodore Roosevelt, George Santayana, W.E.B. Du Bois, G. Stanley Hall, Ralph Barton Perry, Gertrude Stein, Horace Kallen, Morris Raphael Cohen, Alain Locke, C. I. Lewis, and Mary Calkins.

Following his January, 1907 retirement from Harvard, William James continued to write and lecture, publishing Pragmatism, A Pluralistic Universe, and The Meaning of Truth. William James was increasingly afflicted with cardiac pain during his last years. It worsened in 1909 while he worked on a philosophy text (unfinished but posthumously published as Some Problems in Philosophy). William James sailed to Europe in the spring of 1910 to take experimental treatments which proved unsuccessful, and returned home on August 18.

William James was one of the strongest proponents of the school of Functionalism in psychology and of Pragmatism in philosophy. William James was a founder of the American Society for Psychical Research, as well as a champion of alternative approaches to healing. William James challenged his professional colleagues not to let a narrow mindset prevent an honest appraisal of those phenomena.

In an empirical study by Haggbloom et al using 6 criteria such as citations and recognition, William James was found to be the 14th most eminent psychologist of the 20th Century.

William James wrote voluminously throughout his life. A fairly complete bibliography of his writings by John McDermott is 47 pages long.

William James gained widespread recognition with his monumental Principles of Psychology (1890), 1200 pages in 2 volumes which took 12 years to complete. Psychology: The Briefer Course, was an 1892 abridgement designed as a less rigorous introduction to the field. These works criticized both the English associationist school and the Hegelianism of his day as competing dogmatisms of little explanatory value, and sought to re-conceive of the human mind as inherently purposive and selective.

William James defined true beliefs as those that prove useful to the believer. Truth, he said, is that which works in the way of belief. “True ideas lead us into useful verbal and conceptual quarters as well as directly up to useful sensible termini. They lead to consistency, stability and flowing human intercourse ” but ” all true processes must lead to the face of directly verifying sensible experiences somewhere,” he wrote.

William James’ assertion that the value of a truth depends upon its use to the individual who holds it is known as pragmatism. Additional tenets of William James’ pragmatism include the view that the world is a mosaic of diverse experiences that can only be properly understood through an application of “radical empiricism.” Radical empiricism, distinct from everyday scientific empiricism, presumes that nature and experience can never be frozen for absolutely objective analysis, that, at the very least, the mind of the observer will affect the outcome of any empirical approach to truth since, empirically, the mind and nature are inseparable. William James’ emphasis on diversity as the default human condition — over and against duality, especially Hegelian dialectical duality — has maintained a strong influence in American culture, especially among liberals, and his radical empiricism lies in the background of contemporary relativism. William James’ description of the mind-world connection, which he described in terms of a “stream of consciousness,” had a direct and significant impact on avant-garde and modernist literature and art.

In What Pragmatism Means, William James writes that the central point of his own doctrine of truth is, in brief, that “truth is one species of good, and not, as is usually supposed, a category distinct from good, and coordinate with it. Truth is the name of whatever proves itself to be good in the way of belief, and good, too, for definite, assignable reasons.” Richard Rorty claims that James did not mean to give a theory of truth with this statement and that we should not regard it as such. However, other pragmatism scholars such as Susan Haack and Howard Mounce do not share Rorty’s instrumentalist interpretation of William James.

In The Meaning of Truth, William James speaks of truth in relativistic terms: “The critic’s [sc., the critic of pragmatism] trouble…seems to come from his taking the word ‘true’ irrelatively, whereas the pragmatist always means ‘true for him who experiences the workings.’ ”

William James went on to apply the pragmatic method to the epistemological problem of truth. William James would seek the meaning of ‘true’ by examining how the idea functioned in our lives. A belief was true, he said, if in the long run it worked for all of us, and guided us expeditiously through our semihospitable world. William James was anxious to uncover what true beliefs amounted to in human life, what their “Cash Value” was, what consequences they led to. A belief was not a mental entity which somehow mysteriously corresponded to an external reality if the belief were true. Beliefs were ways of acting with reference to a precarious environment, and to say they were true was to say they guided us satisfactorily in this environment. In this sense the pragmatic theory of truth applied Darwinian ideas in philosophy; it made survival the test of intellectual as well as biological fitness. If what was true was what worked, we can scientifically investigate religion’s claim to truth in the same manner. The enduring quality of religious beliefs throughout recorded history and in all cultures gave indirect support for the view that such beliefs worked. William James also argued directly that such beliefs were satisfying — they enabled us to lead fuller, richer lives and were more viable than their alternatives. Religious beliefs were expedient in human existence, just as scientific beliefs were.

Will to Believe Doctrine
Main article: Will to Believe Doctrine
In William James’s lecture of 1897 titled “The Will to Believe,” William James defends the right to violate the principle of evidentialism in order to justify hypothesis venturing. Although this doctrine is often seen as a way for William James to justify religious beliefs, his philosophy of pragmatism allows him to use the results of his hypothetical venturing as evidence to support the hypothesis’ truth. Therefore, this doctrine allows one to assume belief in God and prove its existence by what the belief brings to one’s life.

William James did important work in philosophy of religion. In his Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh he provided a wide-ranging account of The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and interpreted them according to his pragmatic leanings. Some of the important claims he makes in this regard:

Religious genius (experience) should be the primary topic in the study of religion, rather than religious institutions—since institutions are merely the social descendant of genius.

The intense, even pathological varieties of experience (religious or otherwise) should be sought by psychologists, because they represent the closest thing to a microscope of the mind—that is, they show us in drastically enlarged form the normal processes of things.

In order to usefully interpret the realm of common, shared experience and history, we must each make certain “over-beliefs” in things which, while they cannot be proven on the basis of experience, help us to live fuller and better lives.

The investigation of mystical experience was constant throughout the life of William James, leading him to experiment with chloral hydrate (1870), amyl nitrite (1875), nitrous oxide (1882), and even peyote (1896). William James claimed that it was only when he was under the influence of nitrous oxide that he was able to understand Hegel. William James concluded that while the revelations of the mystic hold true, they hold true only for the mystic; for others, they are certainly ideas to be considered, but can hold no claim to truth without personal experience of such.

William James is one of the 2 namesakes of the William James-Lange theory of emotion, which he formulated independently of Carl Lange in the 1880s. The theory holds that emotion is the mind’s perception of physiological conditions that result from some stimulus. In William James’ oft-cited example; it is not that we see a bear, fear it, and run. We see a bear and run, consequently we fear the bear. Our mind’s perception of the higher adrenaline level, heartbeat, etc., is the emotion.

This way of thinking about emotion has great consequences for the philosophy of aesthetics. Here is a passage from his great work, Principles of Psychology, that spells out those consequences.

We must immediately insist that aesthetic emotion, pure and simple, the pleasure given us by certain lines and masses, and combinations of colors and sounds, is an absolutely sensational experience, an optical or auricular feeling that is primary, and not due to the repercussion backwards of other sensations elsewhere consecutively aroused. To this simple primary and immediate pleasure in certain pure sensations and harmonious combinations of them, there may, it is true, be added secondary pleasures; and in the practical enjoyment of works of art by the masses of mankind these secondary pleasures play a great part. The more classic one’s taste is, however, the less relatively important are the secondary pleasures felt to be, in comparison with those of the primary sensation as it comes in. Classicism and romanticism have their battles over this point. Complex suggestiveness, the awakening of vistas of memory and association, and the stirring of our flesh with picturesque mystery and gloom, make a work of art romantic. The classic taste brands these effects as coarse and tawdry, and prefers the naked beauty of the optical and auditory sensations, unadorned with frippery or foliage. To the romantic mind, on the contrary, the immediate beauty of these sensations seems dry and thin. I am of course not discussing which view is right, but only showing that the discrimination between the primary feeling of beauty, as a pure incoming sensible quality, and the secondary emotions which are grafted thereupon, is one that must be made.

Why do we run away if we notice that we are in danger? Because we are afraid of what will happen if we don’t. This obvious (and incorrect) answer to a seemingly trivial question has been the central concern of a century-old debate about the nature of our emotions.

It all began in 1884 when William James published an article titled “What Is an Emotion?” The article appeared in a philosophy journal called Mind, as there were no psychology journals yet. It was important, not because it definitively answered the question it raised, but because of the way in which William James phrased his response. William James conceived of an emotion in terms of a sequence of events that starts with the occurrence of an arousing stimulus {the sympathetic nervous system or the parasympathetic nervous system}; and ends with a passionate feeling, a conscious emotional experience. A major goal of emotion research is still to elucidate this stimulus-to-feeling sequence—to figure out what processes come between the stimulus and the feeling.

William James set out to answer his question by asking another: do we run from a bear because we are afraid or are we afraid because we run? William James proposed that the obvious answer, that we run because we are afraid, was wrong, and instead argued that we are afraid because we run:
Our natural way of thinking about… emotions is that the mental perception of some fact excites the mental affection called emotion, and that this latter state of mind gives rise to the bodily expression. My thesis on the contrary is that the bodily changes follow directly the PERCEPTION of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion (called ‘feeling’ by Damasio).

The essence of William James’ proposal was simple. It was premised on the fact that emotions are often accompanied by bodily responses (racing heart, tight stomach, sweaty palms, tense muscles, and so on; sympathetic nervous system) and that we can sense what is going on inside our body much the same as we can sense what is going on in the outside world. According to William James, emotions feel different from other states of mind because they have these bodily responses that give rise to internal sensations, and different emotions feel different from one another because they are accompanied by different bodily responses and sensations. For example, when we see William James’ bear, we run away. During this act of escape, the body goes through a physiological upheaval: blood pressure rises, heart rate increases, pupils dilate, palms sweat, muscles contract in certain ways (evolutionary, innate defense mechanisms). Other kinds of emotional situations will result in different bodily upheavals. In each case, the physiological responses return to the brain in the form of bodily sensations, and the unique pattern of sensory feedback gives each emotion its unique quality. Fear feels different from anger or love because it has a different physiological signature {the parasympathetic nervous system for love}. The mental aspect of emotion, the feeling, is a slave to its physiology, not vice versa: we do not tremble because we are afraid or cry because we feel sad; we are afraid because we tremble and are sad because we cry.

One of the long-standing schisms in the philosophy of history concerns the role of individuals in social change.

One faction sees individuals (“heroes” as Thomas Carlyle called them) as the motive power of history, and the broader society as the page on which they write their acts. The other sees society as moving according to holistic principles or laws, and sees individuals as its more-or-less willing pawns. In 1880, William James waded into this controversy with “Great Men and Their Environment,” an essay published in the Atlantic Monthly. William James took Carlyle’s side, but without Carlyle’s one-sided emphasis on the political/military sphere, upon heroes as the founders or overthrowers of states and empires.

“Rembrandt must teach us to enjoy the struggle of light with darkness,” William James wrote. “Wagner to enjoy peculiar musical effects; Dickens gives a twist to our sentimentality, Artemus Ward to our humor; Emerson kindles a new moral light within us.”

In 1909 William James published Expériences d’un Psychiste, a book which he relates many experiments that he had with the medium Leonora Piper. William James’ first commentary about Piper, however, was published in Science:

In the trances of this medium, I cannot resist the conviction that knowledge appears which she has never gained by the ordinary waking use of her eyes and ears and wits.

William James gave more detailed informations about his first experiments with Piper in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research:

I made Mrs. Piper’s acquaintance in the autumn of 1885. My wife’s mother, Mrs. Gibbens, had been told of her by a friend, during the previous summer, and never having seen a medium before, had paid her a visit out of curiosity. Mrs Piper returned with the statement that Mrs. P. had given her a long string of names of members of the family, mostly Christian names, together with facts about the persons mentioned and their relations to each other, the knowledge of which on her part was incomprehensible without supernormal powers. My sister-in-law went the next day, with still better results, as she related them. Amongst other things, the medium had accurately described the circumstances of the writer of a letter which she held against her forehead, after Miss G. had given it to her. The letter was in Italian, and its writer was known to but 2 persons in this country. [I may add that on a later occasion my wife and I took another letter from this same person to Mrs. P., who went on to speak of him in a way which identified him unmistakably again. On a third occasion, 2 years later, my sister-in-law and I being again with Mrs. P., she reverted in her trance to these letters, and then gave us the writer’s name, which she said she had not been able to get on the former occasion.] But to revert to the beginning. I remember playing the esprit fort on that occasion before my feminine relatives, and seeking to explain, by simple considerations the marvellous character of the facts which they brought back. This did not, however, prevent me from going myself a few days later, in company with my wife, to get a direct personal impression. The names of none of us up to this meeting had been announced to Mrs. P., and Mrs. J. and I were, of course, careful to make no reference to our relatives who had preceded. The medium, however, when entranced, repeated most of the names of ” spirits” whom she had announced on the 2 former occasions and added others. The names came with difficulty, and were only gradually made perfect. My wife’s father’s name of Gibbens was announced first as Niblin, then as Giblin. A child Herman (whom we had lost the previous year) had his name spelt out as Herrin. I think that in no case were both Christian and surnames given on this visit. But the facts predicated of the persons named made it in many instances impossible not to recognise the particular individuals who were talked about. We took particular pains on this occasion to give the Phinuit control no help over his difficulties and to ask no leading questions. In the light of subsequent experience I believe this not to be the best policy. For it often happens, if you give this trance-personage a name or some small fact for the lack of which he is brought to a standstill, that he will then start off with a copious flow of additional talk, containing in itself an abundance of ” tests.” My impression after this first visit was, that Mrs. P. was either possessed of supernormal powers, or knew the members of my wife’s family by sight and had by some lucky coincidence become acquainted with such a multitude of their domestic circumstances as to produce the startling impression which she did. My later knowledge of her sittings and personal acquaintance with her has led me absolutely to reject the latter explanation, and to believe that she has supernormal powers.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more Celebrities featuring Shortly ………….

Bookmark and Share

Dyslexia Series-Disabled Legend James Duke

James Henry “Red” Duke, Jr. was born in 1928. James is a trauma surgeon and professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. James has been working on-site since 1972.

James Duke attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas where he served as a yell leader. James Duke was the first person to deliver the poem “The Last Corps Trip” publicly.

James Duke has had years of achievement in the field of medicine. James Duke was instrumental in introducing Memorial Hermann’s “Life Flight” and bringing a Level 1 Trauma Unit to Houston, Texas, both of which was first for Texas and Southeast Texas, respectively. Outside of Texas, he is probably most famous for running a nationally syndicated television spot called “Dr. James Duke’s Health Reports”, which aired for 15 years.

The spot educated millions about various health-related topics, a different subject for each day. James Duke well-recognized for his distinctive Southern accent, ever-present large mustache and “Duke-isms” (like his popular segment sign-off “For your health!”).

James Duke was also the surgeon that attended to the wounds of Texas Governor John Connally, who was shot at the same time John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Recently, the University of Texas Medical School at Houston Department of Surgery sponsored a scholarship fund in honor of Dr. “Red” Duke, aimed towards students wishing to research and train in the field of trauma.

James Duke is also noted outside of the medical community. Not only did he attain the rank of Eagle Scout, but the Boy Scouts of America honored him with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.wordpress.com more Celebrities featuring Shortly ………….

Bookmark and Share

Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Alfred Van Vogt

Alfred Van Vogt was born on a farm in Edenburg, a Russian Mennonite community east of Gretna, Manitoba, Canada, Alfred was one of the most popular and highly esteemed science fiction writers of the 1940s. Alfred Van Vogt’s first published Science Fiction story, “Black Destroyer” (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1939), was inspired by The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. In the 1950s, van Vogt briefly became involved in L. Ron Hubbard’s projects. Alfred Van Vogt operated a storefront for Dianetics, the secular precursor to Hubbard’s Church of Scientology, in the Los Angeles area for a time.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more Celebrities featuring Shortly ………….

Bookmark and Share

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Series-Disabled Legend Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was born on 14 March,1879 and died on 18 April,1955. Being one of the most important great minds of his century Albert Einstein was then known to suffer from dyslexia mainly because of his bad memory and his constant failure to memorize the simplest of things. It is also thought that he had OCD. Albert would not remember the months in the year yet he would succeed in solving some of the most complicated mathematical formulas of the time without any trouble. Albert may have never learned how to properly tie his shoelaces but his scientific contributions and theories still have a major effect on all of todays current knowledge of science.

Keep visiting: http://www.lifechums.com/ more Celebrities featuring Shortly ………….

Bookmark and Share

Dyslexia Series-Disabled Legend Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was born on 14 March, 1879 and died on 18 April, 1955. Being one of the most important great minds of his century Albert Einstein was then known to suffer from dyslexia mainly because of his bad memory and his constant failure to memorize the simplest of things.

Albert would not remember the months in the year yet he would succeed in solving some of the most complicated mathematical formulas of the time without any trouble. Albert may have never learned how to properly tie his shoelaces but his scientific contributions and theories still have a major effect on all of todays current knowledge of science.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com/ more Celebrities featuring Shortly ………….

Bookmark and Share