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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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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Insomnia on a Moral Holiday

Insomnia on a Moral Holiday

On the Moral Luck, Reward, and Punishment of a Jamesian “Sick Soul”

(p.32) Insomnia on a Moral Holiday
The Varieties of Transcendence

Sami Pihlström

Fordham University Press

This chapter explores the relation between religion and morality from a pragmatist point of view, with particular emphasis on William James's pragmatism and especially his concept of a “sick soul.” It first considers the nature of ethically acceptable religious outlooks by focusing on evil, suffering, melancholy, and tragedy. Instead of offering any detailed treatment of the “problem of evil” as it emerges in philosophical theology and traditional philosophy of religion, the chapter approaches these dark themes from a possibly somewhat unusual angle in relation to the concepts of moral luck, moral reward, and moral punishment. It argues that we must cultivate a practical attitude toward life that resists our striving to take moral holidays and is aware of the “fragility of goodness.”

Keywords:   religion, morality, William James, pragmatism, sick soul, moral reward, moral punishment, suffering, moral luck, moral holiday

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