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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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“… How you understand … can only be shown by how you live”

“… How you understand … can only be shown by how you live”

Putnam’s Reconsideration of Dewey’s A Common Faith

(p.128) “… How you understand … can only be shown by how you live”
The Varieties of Transcendence

Magnus Schlette

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines how neopragmatist philosopher Hilary Putnam sought a solution to the conflict between his science-based naturalism and his experiences and convictions as a practicing Jew through a reconsideration of John Dewey's A Common Faith. It begins with a discussion of the first stage of Putnam's enterprise to connect his naturalist and religious outlook on the world, which he attempted to do by orientating himself toward Dewey. It then explains how the development of Putnam's thinking leads him from Dewey's rejection of supernaturalism over a reassessment of religious language in the light of Ludwig Wittgenstein's late works to the concept of a personal God informed by Martin Buber's I and Thou. It argues that Putnam's efforts to combine a pragmatist-style naturalism with faith in a personal God is an authentic expression of the “cross pressures” between theism and naturalism in modernity.

Keywords:   naturalism, Hilary Putnam, John Dewey, A Common Faith, supernaturalism, Ludwig Wittgenstein, God, Martin Buber, faith, theism

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