Part I: The birth of religious naturalism -- Philosophical religious naturalism -- Theological religious naturalism -- Analyzing the issues -- Interlude religious naturalism in literature -- Part II: The rebirth of religious naturalism -- Sources of religious insight -- Current issues in religious naturalism -- Other current religious naturalists -- Conclusion: Living religiously as a naturalist.
Abstract The views of eleven writers who develop a naturalized spirituality, from Baruch Spinoza and George Santayana to Sam Harris, André Comte-Sponville, Ursula Goodenough, and Sharon Welch and others are presented. Then the writer's own theory is developed. This is a pluralistic notion of sacredness, an adjective referring to unmanipulable events of overriding importance. The difficulties in using traditional religious words, such as God and spiritual are addressed.
Is a Christian naturalism possible? It sounds like a contradiction in terms. However, depending on the meaning of the terms, it is not only possible but highly desirable. The purpose of this article is to sketch the possibility of a Christian naturalism, drawing on a number of twentieth- and twenty-first-century theologians. Naturalism is a contrast term, like “left” or “up,” which gets its meaning partly from opposition to another term, in this case “supernaturalism” or sometimes “supranaturalism.” It is a set (...) of beliefs which focuses on this world. (Of course, there is no other world, according to naturalism, but since Christians and others have often spoken of God, soul, and/or heaven as distinct from .. (shrink)
Religious naturalism encompasses thinkers from Baruch Spinoza, George Santayana, John Dewey, Henry Nelson Wieman, and Ralph Burhoe to recent writers. I offer a generic definition of religious naturalism and then outline my own version, the “minimalist vision of transcendence.” Many standard issues in the science‐and‐religion dialogue are seen to fade in significance for religious naturalism. I make suggestions for our understanding of science, including the importance of transcognitive abilities, the need for a revised notion of rationality as an alternative to (...) extreme versions of postmodernism, the value of rational dissensus, and the education of appreciation. Finally, I suggest ways to interpret the religious traditions of the world by religious naturalism. (shrink)
The aim of this book is to demonstrate that American Indians have a world-view that is consistent, intelligible, and legitimate. It is a deft and self-aware exemplification of the task of cross-cultural comparison. The overall strategy in the argument is to employ a modified version of Nelson Goodman’s notion of world-making and then construct a simplified model of the American Indian worldview. Norton-Smith accomplishes this difficult task and in the process modifies Goodman in a realist direction, making a strong case (...) that the Native view deserves intellectual respect. The writing is accessible and shows a deft and helpful interplay between abstract language and concrete illustrative .. (shrink)
This closely reasoned philosophical study develops two metaethical positions: a pragmatist view of truth in ethics and a pragmatist view of principles in moral inquiry. To reach these notions Heney gives a close reading of Peirce, James, Dewey, and C. I. Lewis. In the process she engages with current debates in ethical theory.Heney makes a strong case for the importance of metaethics, the inquiry into the meaning of and justification for ethical terms and propositions. She focuses on the primacy of (...) practice, which implies consideration of how groups and individuals deal with moral discourse, moral disagreement, and value-laden experience.I will first elucidate her constructive position in... (shrink)
This is a set of fourteen technical articles by leading American philosophers from a conference at the Center for Inquiry/Transnational (an institutional home of secular humanism) in 2007. They are about the future direction that philosophy in a naturalistic vein should take.In their preface the editors state: "Naturalism seeks to apply the methods of the empirical sciences to explain natural events without reference to supernatural causes; and it derives ethical values from human experience, not theological grounds" (7). This definition of (...) naturalism hides a rift in the conception of naturalism. Some writers, following Quine, think that the method of philosophy should be that of the empirical sciences. Others .. (shrink)
I thought that I knew Adam Smith. Apparently not! "The political economy of the USA today is based on a laissez-faire interpretation of his Wealth of Nations," which, according to John E. Hill, "grossly distorts Smith's ideas." Furthermore, "correctly interpreting" Smith's thought would lead to greater happiness in all capitalistic political economic systems". The general slant of this book is that gross misinterpretations of Smith's theory of market capitalism have been used to justify the destruction of the moral standards on (...) which market capitalism depends. In other words, market capitalism requires a moral infrastructure or foundation, which has been eroded by Smith's recent... (shrink)
W. Creighton Peden is known for his organizational skill in founding and guiding The Highlands Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought. He is also known for founding this journal, with Larry Axel and friends. In addition, he wrote some fourteen books and co-edited or coauthored nine volumes plus several articles in American liberal theology. Many of these books are the first major studies of their subjects. Also, he was the founder of the Journal of Social Philosophy, which he edited (...) for fourteen years.The strengths of Peden’s scholarship, in my judgment, are threefold. First, he has collected major and minor writings of his.. (shrink)
Seldom have I read a book so scholarly and yet so delightful. It takes us to view major concepts of both God and the good life of philosophical and religious writers of the world from the Bible, Plato, and Aristotle to philosophers of India and China. Besides the usual figures, there are studies of Augustine, Maimonides, al-Farabi, and al-Ghazali. As a bonus, Lobel also touches on recent figures such as Iris Murdoch, Alfred North Whitehead, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor. While (...) I am not competent to judge the accuracy of the author’s treatment of Maimonides, the Muslims, and Murdoch, I found the rest of her analyses to be accurate. She has previously... (shrink)
This is an excellent book on Santayana. It establishes Lovely as a Santayana scholar, ranking him with the likes of Lachs, Levinson, and Woodward. He has a thorough command of both the primary sources and secondary literature. Since many American naturalists writing on religion have either a liberal Protestant or a liberal Jewish background, Santayana’s Roman Catholic background provides a needed balance. Santayana, like many great American philosophers, helps point the way to a truly postmodern appreciation of religion. The first (...) chapter considers Santayana’s paradoxical relationship to Catholicism. His outlook was nontheistic yet included a Catholic cultural sensibility, theological .. (shrink)
Paul Rasor’s thoughtful book attempts to show how liberal religion can regain its prophetic role in America. A key theme is that religious liberals must be clear about the religious principles that support and guide their basic social-justice work. This is not easy for religious liberals, because of their commitment to religious freedom. For Rasor, liberal religion seeks to be in tune with modern knowledge and culture and has a commitment to free religious inquiry. Religious liberals are found in all (...) religious traditions. Religious liberals are not identical with but overlap the religious left, that is, religious people who hold progressive political and social views. Examining three recent surveys, he .. (shrink)
In his three books J. Wentzel van Huyssteen develops a complex and helpful notion of rationality, avoiding the extremes of foundationalism and postmodern relativism and deconstruction. Drawing from several postmodern philosophers of science and evolutionary epistemologists who seek to devise a usable notion of rationality, he weaves together a view that allows for a genuine duet betweenscience and theology. In the process he challenges much contemporary nonfoundationalist theology as well as the philosophical naïveté of some cosmologists and sociobiologists.