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The Human ErosEco-ontology and the Aesthetics of Existence$
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Thomas Alexander

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251209

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251209.001.0001

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The Spirituality of the Possible in John Dewey’s A Common Faith

The Spirituality of the Possible in John Dewey’s A Common Faith

(p.352) Fifteen The Spirituality of the Possible in John Dewey’s A Common Faith
The Human Eros

Thomas M. Alexander

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines the role of spirituality in John Dewey’s philosophy and argues that his book A Common Faith is important in interpreting his overall thought. It also suggests that Dewey offers an alternative form of spirituality, “the spirituality of the possible,” to the traditional “spirituality of the actual” that has characterized the Western tradition. Dewey understood his own mystical experience on the basis of the notion that life is not only a piecemeal adjustment of going from one situation to another, but also involves a general orientation of “existence as such.” He elaborates on the place of the religious in experience in A Common Faith, but his account has generally been seen as inconsistent with or inconsequential to his general philosophical view. The chapter explores three related ideas in A Common Faith: “possibility as such,” “the whole self,” and openness to experience. It also considers Dewey’s philosophical answer to the question of the meaning of the word “God”.

Keywords:   spirituality, John Dewey, philosophy, A Common Faith, experience, existence, self, God

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