William James, eminent psychologist and philosopher, was born in New York City. After an interval in which he studied painting, James enrolled in the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard in 1861. James stated his intention to establish psychology as a natural science. In contrast to a widely prevailing conception of mind as composed of ideas, like atoms, ordered and compounded by association, James proposed that mentality is a 'stream of consciousness' including in it feelings and interests. For James, the mental is to be construed in evolutionary and teleological forms: mental activity is evidenced where there are selections of means to achieve future ends. In his later writings and lectures, James refined and defended his metaphysical doctrines of the pluralistic character of reality, indeterminism, and 'radical empiricism' according to which the world is conceived as a growing continuous structure of experience.