Volume 18, 1993
Three Types of American Neo-Pragmatism
The issue of this paper is the extent to which historicism excludes metaphysics in the contemporary revival of American philosophical pragmatism. I have isolated three types of neo-pragmatism: philosophical, theological, and religious. My theisis is that religious pragmatism is a dialectical compromise between theological pragmatism and philosophical pragmatism. William Dean is correct that Rorty’s commitment to human solidarity implies a metaphysics, for human solidarity is valuable only because natural reality is so harsh. Jeffrey Stout, though, is correct that theistic naturalism is “relevant but redundant,” for God is identical to creative natural experiences. Religious pragmatism is an unjustly neglected alternative in this contemporary revival of classical pragmatism. It is a union of the naturalistic conception of religion from theological pragmatism and the non-theistic metaphysics of philosophical pragmatism . By preserving what is true in each type of pragmatism, religious pragmatism makes constructive dialogue possible.