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By John Dewey

In A universal Faith, eminent American thinker John Dewey demands the “emancipation of the genuine spiritual caliber” from the historical past of dogmatism and supernaturalism that he believes characterizes ancient religions. He describes how the intensity of non secular event and the artistic position of religion within the assets of expertise to generate that means and cost should be cultivated with no making cognitive claims that compete with or cope with clinical ones. In a brand new advent, Dewey student Thomas M. Alexander contextualizes the textual content for college students and students by means of supplying an outline of Dewey and his philosophy, key ideas in A universal Faith, and reactions to the text.

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It is defined, in the Christian religion, as evidence of things not seen. The implication is that faith is a kind of anticipatory vision of things that are now invisible because of the limitations of our finite and erring nature. Because it is a substitute for knowledge, its material and object are intellectual in quality. As John Locke summed up the matter, faith is ‘‘assent to a proposition . . ’’ Religious faith is then given to a body of propositions as true on the credit of their supernatural author, reason coming in to demonstrate the reasonableness of giving such credit.

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. 6, 1940, cited in Corliss Lamont, ‘‘New Light on Dewey’s Common Faith,’’ The Journal of Philosophy 58, no. 1 [1961], p. 26). xxxiii INTRODUCTION 3. John Dewey, ‘‘From Absolutism to Experimentalism,’’ in The Later Works, vol.

I think he will be struck by three facts that reduce the terms of the definition to such a low common denominator that little meaning is left. He will note that the ‘‘unseen powers’’ referred to have been conceived in a multitude of incompatible ways. Eliminating the di√erences, nothing is left beyond the bare reference to something unseen and powerful. This has been conceived as the vague and undefined Mana of the Melanesians; the Kami of primitive Shintoism; the fetish of the Africans; spirits, having some human properties, that pervade natural places and animate natural forces; the ultimate and impersonal principle of Buddhism; the unmoved mover of Greek thought; the gods and semi-divine heroes of the Greek and Roman Pantheons; the personal and loving Providence of Christianity, omnipotent, and limited by a corresponding evil power; the arbitrary Will of Moslemism; the supreme legislator and judge of deism.

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