Personalism, Pragmatism, and Religion
This chapter explores pragmatism and personalism and their relevance in the fields of metaphysics and philosophy of religion, especially with regards to the question of the nature and existence of “God” as he is experienced in different religious traditions. It considers the question of a personal God or of the personality of the divine reality by comparing William James's concept of theism with the work of Edgar Sheffield Brightman, the philosophical head of the “Boston Personalists.” It examines James's pragmatism and Brightman's personalism as related reactions to the challenges of naturalism and historicism in an intellectual situation that had been shaped by evolutionary thinking in science and the humanities. It argues that the theism of both James and Brightman feeds into a “pluralistic and melioristic metaphysics of contingency” and suggests the term “expressive theism” to describe their contributions to the philosophy of religion.
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