SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

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Dewey on Religious Experiences and the Quest for a Democratic Future: A Conversation with Philip Kitcher (and Others)

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In Preludes to Pragmatism, Philip Kitcher misinterprets two important aspects of Dewey’s A Common Faith that, properly understood, have great value for his own secular humanist project, as well as for Dewey’s wider project of “religious humanism”: Dewey’s analysis of religious experiences and his discussion of the nature and role of imagination within these processes. In addition to his aim of liberating individual interpretations, Dewey’s still-worthy goals in A Common Faith that Kitcher would be wise to embrace include explaining the role of integrative and idealizing imagination within religious experiences, guiding its deployment by individuals and communities, and imaginatively interconnecting both secular organizations and liberatory churches into active networks of collaborative work toward a democratic future of social justice for all. A “conversation” with Kitcher and a diverse group of late-twentieth and twenty-first century religious thinkers suggests that they and others can collaborate to actualize Dewey’s religious ideal of democracy.

Author(s):

Judith Green    
Fordham University
United States

 

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