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The Varieties of Transcendence$
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Hermann Deuser, Hans Joas, Matthias Jung, and Magnus Schlette

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823267576

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823267576.001.0001

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Pragmatic Methodology in the Philosophy of Religion

Pragmatic Methodology in the Philosophy of Religion

Perspectives of Classical American Pragmatism

(p.15) Pragmatic Methodology in the Philosophy of Religion
The Varieties of Transcendence

Christoph Seibert

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses pragmatic methodology in the philosophy of religion, starting with an explanation of methodical activity as a “procedure by which ends will be realized in ways of controlled conduct” as a form of “responsible self-determination.” It examines ethical and some other crucial aspects of philosophical thinking on religion, with particular reference to William James and John Dewey. It suggests that the act of thinking, and particularly of thinking about religion, fulfills the criteria of a methodical activity. However, it also argues that thinking about religion never starts from a neutral point of view, and this also holds true for “philosophical thinking about the phenomena of religious life,” which are—at least to some degree— “rooted in the history of the situational experiences of the person who thinks.” The chapter concludes by stressing that pragmatic methodology in the philosophy of religion has to be located within a continuum of an actor's first-person self-reflection that reaches from the implicit rationale of his way of living to the most elaborate forms of theology.

Keywords:   pragmatic methodology, philosophy of religion, self-determination, thinking, religion, William James, John Dewey, religious life, self-reflection, theology

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