By Michael Slater
During this booklet, Michael Slater offers a brand new evaluate of pragmatist perspectives within the philosophy of faith. concentrating on the stress among naturalist and anti-naturalist models of pragmatism, he argues that the anti-naturalist non secular perspectives of philosophers similar to William James and Charles Peirce supply a robust replacement to the naturalism and secularism of later pragmatists corresponding to John Dewey and Richard Rorty. Slater first examines the writings of the 'classical pragmatists' - James, Peirce, and Dewey - and argues for the relevance in their perspectives for wondering such issues because the nature of faith and the viability of common theology. His ultimate 3 chapters have interaction with the spiritual perspectives of later pragmatists similar to Rorty and Philip Kitcher, and with present philosophical debates over metaphysical realism, naturalism, and evidentialism. His e-book could be of specific curiosity to philosophers of faith, theologians, and experts in American philosophy.
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Additional resources for Pragmatism and the Philosophy of Religion
While it is true that for methodological purposes James assumed a deterministic view of the causes of mental states in The Principles of Psychology (1890), for example, at the end of Psychology: The Briefer Course (1892) he explicitly argued that such an approach was inadequate for dealing with ethical and religious matters. Indeed, the latter view was one that he consistently affirmed, beginning with early essays such as “The Dilemma of Determinism” (1884). And in his later works, including his writings on religion and his psychical research, James did not strictly follow what we would now term a methodological naturalist approach.
Wulff, among others, have emphasized the stipulative or provisional nature of James’s definition of religion in Lecture II of Varieties. See Taves, Fits, Trances, & Visions, p. 275; Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), pp. 34–5; and Wulff, “Listening to James a Century Later: The Varieties as a Resource for Renewing the Psychology of Religion” in Carrette, William James, pp. 49–50. Tweed, somewhat oddly and without support, claims that stipulative definitions of the sort developed by James “cannot be true or false” (p.
James takes this approach not because making such claims might be offensive or uncomfortable to some persons but rather because we do not possess – and will not foreseeably possess – sufficient evidence to make such claims with any confidence on strictly empirical grounds. In a candid passage that one rarely sees among scientifically minded theorists of religion today, James states his view that the attempt to determine the objective truth or falsehood of belief in an unseen order is “an impossible task” (VRE, 386).
Pragmatism and the Philosophy of Religion by Michael Slater