Pragmatic Pluralism and the Problem of God

Pragmatic Pluralism and the Problem of God

SAMI PIHLSTRÖM
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 264
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x02vg
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  • Book Info
    Pragmatic Pluralism and the Problem of God
    Book Description:

    Pragmatism mediates rival extremes, and religion is no exception: the problems of realism versus antirealism, evidentialism versus fideism, and science versus religion, along with other key issues in the philosophy of religion, receive new interpretations when examined from a pragmatist point of view. Religion is then understood as a human practice with certain inherent aims and goals, responding to specific human needs and interests, serving certain important human values, and seeking to resolve problematic situations that naturally arise from our practices themselves, especially our need to live with our vulnerability, finitude, guilt, and mortality.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-5159-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-18)

    Contemporary philosophy of religion is in a confusing state, as the different schools of thought seem to disagree not only about substantial questions such as God’s existence but about the very nature and methods of the philosophy of religion. These disagreements do not just arise from the theism versus atheism dispute about the existence of God or from the currently popular science versus religion controversy, to which aggressive atheists like Richard Dawkins and Daniel C. Dennett have actively contributed.Evidentialismandfideismoffer different metalevel views on the justifiability of religious faith and on its relation to science and reason:...

  5. ONE PRAGMATIC ASPECTS OF KANTIAN THEISM
    (pp. 19-46)

    Is God real? What do we, or what should we, mean by this question? How, if at all, might the question, given that its meaning(s) can be clarified, be settled or even rationally discussed? Is there any chance for a reasonable, scientifically minded person to believe in God, or is atheism the only intellectually responsible option for us today? Is theism inevitably committed to the antiscientific absurdities of creationism, the “intelligent design theory,” and other unfortunately increasingly influential fundamentalisms?

    The purpose of this chapter (and this book, for that matter) is not to resolve these vast issues in the philosophy...

  6. TWO DEWEYAN PRAGMATIC RELIGIOUS NATURALISM
    (pp. 47-72)

    John Dewey is often regarded as a purely secular thinker, a “naturalist” and “humanist.” In most commentaries, Dewey’s pragmatism—including his moral, social, and educational thought—is barely, if at all, connected with his views on religion,¹ in contrast to William James, whose explorations of religious themes, emphasizing the value of individual believers’ experiential perspectives, continuously attract scholars’ attention.² This chapter, however, deals with the socially oriented, pragmatically naturalist conception of religious faith Dewey developed inA Common Faith(LW9:1–58)³ and elsewhere, as well as Dewey’s influence on pragmatist and naturalist currents in the philosophy of religion.⁴ In particular,...

  7. THREE RORTY VERSUS PUTNAM: NEOPRAGMATIST PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
    (pp. 73-98)

    In this chapter, I move from classical pragmatism—the Jamesian and Deweyan considerations I have explored in the previous two chapters—to what has come to be calledneopragmatism, and to its actual and potential contributions to the philosophy of religion. Neopragmatism, however, is not a unified philosophical school of thought. Since the 1980s, some leading (mostly American) philosophers have been described by this term, emphasizing their background in classical pragmatism. It is widely agreed that the two most important neopragmatists are Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam; other key figures include Joseph Margolis, Nicholas Rescher, and Susan Haack. The latter...

  8. FOUR THE JAMESIAN PRAGMATIC METHOD IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
    (pp. 99-128)

    In the introduction, I started from the observation that contemporary philosophy of religion is in a relatively confusing state, as the different approaches often disagree even about the very nature and methods of the philosophy of religion. I also pointed out that the status of pragmatist philosophy of religion in this situation is ambivalent: generally speaking, pragmatists seek a middle path between extreme realism and antirealism, as well as evidentialism and fideism. How exactly this is done, however, must be studied in detail; one key pragmatist thinker such a study should focus on is, obviously, William James. In chapter 1...

  9. FIVE THE PROBLEM OF EVIL AND THE LIMITS OF PHILOSOPHY
    (pp. 129-156)

    There has been a recent revival, especially after 9/11, of philosophical interest in the concept of evil in its various dimensions. Without attempting to summarize this already comprehensive discussion,¹ I want to start this chapter by drawing attention to some basic contrasts, tensions, and oppositions that need to be taken up when examining the concept of evil. There is, first, the familiar distinction to be drawn betweennaturalandmoralevil (typically epitomized in two names: Lisbon and Auschwitz).Religiousandnonreligiousapproaches to the problem of evil constitute another important contrast: Is evil something “merely human” or something non-...

  10. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 157-180)

    In the previous chapters I have argued for the pragmatic need to adopt, antireductionistically and antiessentialistically,different perspectiveson issues in the philosophy of religion: Kantian (the postulates of practical reason); Jamesian (the ethical grounding of metaphysics and theology); Deweyan (naturalism, the emancipation of “the religious” from supernaturalism); neopragmatist (integrating these perspectives with Wittgensteinian influences); and others. I have not attempted to interpret these positions in any historical detail; I have, by “philosophizing historically,”¹ examined their relevance to pragmatist philosophy of religion today. Moreover, Jamesian pluralism, I have suggested, isa(notthe)metaperspectiveurging us to accommodate all these...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 181-240)
  12. Index
    (pp. 241-246)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 247-250)