A Common Faith by John Dewey

By John Dewey

In A universal Faith, eminent American thinker John Dewey demands the “emancipation of the real spiritual caliber” from the background of dogmatism and supernaturalism that he believes characterizes old religions. He describes how the intensity of spiritual event and the artistic position of religion within the assets of expertise to generate which means and price will be cultivated with no making cognitive claims that compete with or cope with medical ones. In a brand new advent, Dewey pupil Thomas M. Alexander contextualizes the textual content for college kids and students through supplying an summary of Dewey and his philosophy, key strategies in A universal Faith, and reactions to the text.

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Many a person, inquirer, artist, philanthropist, citizen, men and women in the humblest walks of life, have achieved, without presumption and without display, such unification of themselves and of their relations to the conditions of existence. It remains to extend their spirit and inspiration to ever wider numbers. If I have said anything about religions and religion that seems harsh, I have said those things because of a firm belief that the claim on the part of religions to possess a monopoly of ideals and of the supernatural means by which alone, it is alleged, they can be furthered, stands in the way of the realization of distinctively religious values inherent in natural experience.

2. ’’ Pragmatism—or ‘‘instrumentalism,’’ as he preferred to call it—refers to only part of that philosophy, the theory of inquiry. In a letter to Corliss Lamont, Dewey wrote: ‘‘I have come to think of my own position as cultural or humanistic Naturalism. Naturalism, properly interpreted, seems to me a more adequate term than Humanism. Of course I have always limited my use of ‘instrumentalism’ to my theory of thinking and knowledge; the word ‘pragmatism’ I have used very little, and then with reserves’’ (Dewey to Corliss Lamont, Sept.

237–38. Victor Kestenbaum provides a sensitive, probing analysis of this rather neglected side of Dewey in ‘‘Faith and the Unseen,’’ in his The Grace and Severity of the Ideal (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 202), pp. 175–99. 16. This is why Dewey’s theory of the pervasive, qualitative dimension of all experience, including practical and cognitive experience, is crucial for grasping his thought. See Douglas Anderson’s ‘‘John Dewey’s Sensible Mysticism,’’ in his Philosophy Americana (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006), pp.

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