Strenuous Moral Living

Todd Lekan
Muskingum College
In this paper I seek to make sense of James's account of strenuous moral living, and the role that theological belief plays in the strenuous life. I will show that some of his arguments for the moral necessity of belief in the "theological postulate" are not tenable, and that his case is stronger if his conclusion is weakened to the claim that theological belief may be necessary for some, but not all serious moral agents. I suggest that by drawing on the rich insights about ethical attention in works such as James's Talks to Teachers, we can make better sense of the theological postulate as strategy for attending to one's agency in a way that unleashes strenuous moral action
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