In 1997 and 1998, the American secular philosopher Richard Rorty published a set of predictions about the twenty-first century ranging from the years 2014-95. He predicted, for instance, the election of a "strong man" in the 2016 presidential race and the proliferation of gun violence starting in 2014. He labels the years from 2014-44 the darkest years of American history, politics, and society. From 2045-95, Rorty thinks his own vision for "social hope" will be implemented within American society--a vision that (...) includes charity (in the Pauline sense), solidarity, and sympathy. Rorty considers himself a leftist, liberal, and a philosopher of hope. So why would a philosopher of hope predict such darkness and despair? In The Dark Years? Philosophy, Politics, and the Problem of Predictions philosopher and political theorist Jacob L. Goodson explains the fullness of Rorty's predictions, the problem of making predictions within the social sciences, and the reasons why even Rorty's vision for life after the "dark years" fails us on the standards of hope. Goodson argues that we ought to challenge the monopoly that American politics has as our object of hope. Goodson makes the case for a melancholic yet redemptive hope. -- back cover. (shrink)
This edited volume demonstrates that a virtue-centered approach to the ethical life is a consistent feature of William James’s moral reasoning from the 1880s until his death. Yet, little else remains constant within his writings on these subjects, and this inconstancy furthers interest in his work over a century later.
Since Plato’s Republic, philosophers have outlined their expectations for political leaders and have offered judgments on the actions and decisions made by political leaders in their given context. It turns out that the American philosopher, William James, participates in this philosophical tradition. Although it has been assumed by professional philosophers—and even scholars of William James’s work—that James has no political philosophy, we argue that James’s political philosophy becomes both practical and useful for making judgments about and against political leaders.
The practice and task of the philosophical interpretation of Scripture has been treated as a conversation-stopper within the academy. This collection corrects that tendency by offering substantive accounts of the role of Scripture in the philosophical thought of fifteen American philosophers.
Is the beloved community local, national, global, or universal? What kind of love is required for the beloved community? Is such a community only an ideal, or can it be actualized in the here and now? Tracing the phrase beloved community from Josiah Royce through Martin Luther King Jr. to a variety of contemporary usages, Goodson, Kuehnert, and Stone debate answers to the above questions. The authors agree about the importance of beloved community but disagree on the details. These differences (...) come out through arguments over the local vs. the universal, the type of love the beloved community calls for, and what it means to conceptualize community. Ultimately, they argue, the purpose of beloved community involves responding to the cries of the wounded and those who suffer in the wounded world. (shrink)
Pragmatism is a philosophical school of thought emphasizing action, practices, and practical reasoning whereas prophecy is an ancient religious concept that requires belief in the reality of God. Although these two concepts seem to not be a natural fit with one another, the authors demonstrate why prophetic pragmatism is “pragmatism at its best.”.
In Narrative Theology and the Hermeneutical Virtues, Goodson offers a philosophical analysis of the arguments and tendencies of the narrative theologies of Hans Frei and Stanley Hauerwas. Goodson concludes that the movement of narrative theology needs the language and logic of the virtues in order for it to survive within the modern academy.
This book brings Jewish moral reasoning into conversation with Richard Rorty's secular neo-pragmatist philosophy, which often comes across as anti-religious. The result is a type of hope for the future concerning the relationship between Judaism and secularism.
Since its inception in 1994, scriptural reasoning has been practiced by academics and religious laypeople on an international scale. Scriptural reasoning is an activity or practice where Jews, Christians, and Muslims read and study together short passages from their traditionally sacred texts. In this book, Jacob L. Goodson describes this activity by giving a tour through modern philosophy and showing how certain arguments, ideas, and theories from modern philosophers help make sense of this inter-religious practice. According to Goodson, one of (...) the most interesting aspects of the practice of scriptural reasoning concerns how its driven by a tension between pragmatism and semiotics—what he calls purposefulness (pragmatism) vs. playfulness (semiotics) throughout the book. Can inter-religious practices only be playful, in terms of an academic “leisure activity”? Or do inter-religious practices need to strive toward a greater end or even a higher purpose, such as peace-making among the Abrahamic faiths or inter-religious friendships? In each individual chapter, Goodson explores this tension within the practice of scriptural reasoning. Utilizing Immanuel Kant’s deontology, Goodson concludes by demonstrating how the practice of scriptural reasoning might work if only two rules are in place while participating in it. (shrink)
This edited volume demonstrates that a virtue-centered approach to the ethical life is a consistent feature of William James’s moral reasoning from the 1880s until his death in 1910. Little else, however, seems constant within James’s writings on moral philosophy and the ethical life, and this lack of constancy is what keeps James’s work of interest more than a century later.
Gary S. Slater's C. S. Peirce & Nested Continua Model of Religious Interpretation comes to readers in the Oxford University Press series Oxford Theology and Religion Monographs. Before I say more about Slater's complex book, a story: Much philosophical scholarship on C. S. Peirce tends either to neglect the religious dimensions of his work or to secularize, demystify, and detheologize it. These secularized interpretations alienate those who read Peirce within the Christian and Jewish theological traditions and estrange the Transcendentalists within (...) American Philosophy who rely on religious language to talk and think about the natural world and personhood.There are significant divisions among Peirce scholars: the... (shrink)
According to Hilary Putnam, “attention to James’s ethical intentions is essential to an understanding of him . . . [and] understanding both his pragmatism and his radical empiricism.”1 This essay develops Putnam’s insight concerning James’s work through an introduction to the ways in which James’s ethical intentions are essential to his radical empiricism as well as his understanding of how inquiry works. I show that James actually fits within the tradition of virtue theory, asserting that one’s character and disposition make (...) a real difference for inquiry. For example, James suggests that both “patience” and “submission” are necessary “virtues” for “the experimental method” to work (I use the word “humility” .. (shrink)
Through an analysis and explication of William James’s writings, such as “The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life” and The Varieties of Religious Experience, Michael Slater successfully defends the argument “that on James’s view morality cannot be finally separated from religion, because there are moral goods that only religious faith—and in some cases, only the objects of religious faith—can plausibly bring about” (7). Slater advances this argument by making two significant claims concerning James’s work. First, James’s ethics require “the possession (...) of a morally strenuous attitude” (7). By emphasizing our attitudes and dispositions, rather than the calculations or consequences of our moral actions, Slater .. (shrink)
John Milbank's philosophical theology synthesizes the differences between Richard Rorty and Charles Taylor on realism and truth. Rorty thinks that both realism and truth as correspondence are philosophical positions that are still in the modern epistemological tradition. Taylor thinks that escaping that same tradition involves realism and an ontological use of truth as correspondence. Milbank synthesizes these differences by defending both non-realism and truth as correspondence. This synthesis is found in his Christology because truth is made by Christ and truth (...) is Christ so we know the truth by participating in the body of Christ called the church. (shrink)