Søren Kierkegaard and John Dewey on Faith and Self-Unification

Thinking About Religion 13 (2018)
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In this paper I compare and contrast Søren Kierkegaard's and John Dewey's respective views on faith. Although Kierkegaard was a Christian and Dewey rejected all forms of supernaturalism, both thinkers present faith as a passionate, non- or supra-rational commitment that unifies the self and opens new possibilities in the living world. I argue that although the Kierkegaardian conception of faith is excessively individualistic, we should allow for the possibility that, in exceptional cases, faith sets apart the single individual in a way that Dewey’s emphasis on the social self does not fully take into account. Kierkegaardian and Deweyan conceptions of faith thus can supplement and enrich each other



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Wesley Dempster
Western Governors University

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