Stream of Consciousness in James

July 11, 2012

The stream of consciousness is a phrase coined by the psychologist William James as a characterization of the mind, that is,  that it is a process of continuous thought.

It can be seen as an attempt to find a middle way between two opposing concepts of the mind :

- the cartesian (that mind is a special and unknown kinf of mental substance)

- the humean (that it is nothing but a bundle of sensations

James wrote : “The traditional psychology talks like one who should say a river consists of nothing but paitsful, spoonsful, quart-potsful, bowlsful, andf other moulded forms of water. Even were the pails and pots all actually standing in the stream, still continue to flow. It it just this free water of consciousness that psycologists resolutely overlook”