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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

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148

Religious Faith, Intellectual Responsibility and Romance

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basically how you can reconcile ethical beliefs with religious beliefs. he writes about religion in such a beautiful way

M. Rorty, R. (2000). Religious Faith, Intellectual Responsibility and Romance. In M. Rorty, R. Philosophy and Social Hope. Penguin, pp. 148-167

149

Our responsibility to Truth is not, for James, a responsibility to get things right. Rather, it is a responsibility to ourselves to make our beliefs cohere with one another, and to our fellow humans to make them cohere with theirs. As in Habermas's account of 'communicative rationality' , our obligation to be rational is exhausted by our obligation to take account of other people's doubts and objections to our beliefs. This view of rationality makes it natural to say, as James does, that the true is 'what would be better for us to believe'.

—p.149 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 9 months ago

Our responsibility to Truth is not, for James, a responsibility to get things right. Rather, it is a responsibility to ourselves to make our beliefs cohere with one another, and to our fellow humans to make them cohere with theirs. As in Habermas's account of 'communicative rationality' , our obligation to be rational is exhausted by our obligation to take account of other people's doubts and objections to our beliefs. This view of rationality makes it natural to say, as James does, that the true is 'what would be better for us to believe'.

—p.149 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 9 months ago
156

Pragmatist theists, however, do have to get along without personal immortality, providential intervention, the efficacy of sacraments, the Virgin Birth, the Risen Christ, the Covenant with Abraham, the authority of the Koran, and a lot of other things which many theists are loath to do without. Or, if they want them, they will have to interpret them 'symbolically' in a way which MacIntyre will regard as disingenuous, for they must prevent them from providing premises for practical reasoning. But demythologizing is, pragmatist theists think, a small price to pay for insulating these doctrines from 'scientific' criticism. Demythologizing amounts to saying that, whatever theism is good for, it is not a device for predicting or controlling our environment.

—p.156 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 9 months ago

Pragmatist theists, however, do have to get along without personal immortality, providential intervention, the efficacy of sacraments, the Virgin Birth, the Risen Christ, the Covenant with Abraham, the authority of the Koran, and a lot of other things which many theists are loath to do without. Or, if they want them, they will have to interpret them 'symbolically' in a way which MacIntyre will regard as disingenuous, for they must prevent them from providing premises for practical reasoning. But demythologizing is, pragmatist theists think, a small price to pay for insulating these doctrines from 'scientific' criticism. Demythologizing amounts to saying that, whatever theism is good for, it is not a device for predicting or controlling our environment.

—p.156 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 9 months ago
161

There is a passage in the work of the contemporary novelist Dorothy Allison which may help explain what I have in mind. Towards the beginning of a remarkable essay called 'Believing in Literature', Allison says that 'literature, and my own dream of writing, has shaped my own system of belief - a kind of atheist's religion ... the backbone of my convictions has been a belief in the progress of human society as demonstrated in its fiction'. She ends the essay as follows:

There is a place where we are always alone with our own mortality, where we must simply have something greater than ourselves to hold onto - God or history or politics or literature or a belief in the healing power of love, or even righteous anger. Sometimes I think they are all the same. A reason to believe, a way to take the world by the throat and insist that there is more to this life than we have ever imagined.

What I like best about this passage is Allison's suggestion that all these may be the same, that it does not greatly matter whether we state our reason to believe - our insistence that some or all finite, mortal humans can be far more than they have yet become - in religious, political, philosophical, literary, sexual or familial terms. What matters is the insistence itself - the romance, the ability to experience overpowering hope, or faith, or love (or, sometimes, rage).

What is distinctive about this state is that it carries us beyond argument, because beyond presendy used language. It thereby carries us beyond the imagination of the present age of the world. [...]

In past ages of the world, things were so bad that 'a reason to believe, a way to take the world by the throat' was hard to get except by looking to a power not ourselves. In those days, there was little choice but to sacrifice the intellect in order to grasp hold of the premises of practical syllogisms - premises concerning the after-death consequences of baptism, pilgrimage or participation in holy wars. To be imaginative and to be religious, in those dark times, came to almost the same thing - for this world was too wretched to lift up the heart. But things are different now, because of human beings' gradual success in making their lives, and their world, less wretched. Nonreligious forms of romance have flourished - if only in those lucky parts of the world where wealth, leisure, literacy and democracy have worked together to prolong our lives and fill our libraries. Now the things of this world are, for some lucky people, so welcome that they do not have to look beyond nature to the supernatural, and beyond life to an afterlife, but only beyond the human past to the human future.

this whole passage is so good

—p.161 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 9 months ago

There is a passage in the work of the contemporary novelist Dorothy Allison which may help explain what I have in mind. Towards the beginning of a remarkable essay called 'Believing in Literature', Allison says that 'literature, and my own dream of writing, has shaped my own system of belief - a kind of atheist's religion ... the backbone of my convictions has been a belief in the progress of human society as demonstrated in its fiction'. She ends the essay as follows:

There is a place where we are always alone with our own mortality, where we must simply have something greater than ourselves to hold onto - God or history or politics or literature or a belief in the healing power of love, or even righteous anger. Sometimes I think they are all the same. A reason to believe, a way to take the world by the throat and insist that there is more to this life than we have ever imagined.

What I like best about this passage is Allison's suggestion that all these may be the same, that it does not greatly matter whether we state our reason to believe - our insistence that some or all finite, mortal humans can be far more than they have yet become - in religious, political, philosophical, literary, sexual or familial terms. What matters is the insistence itself - the romance, the ability to experience overpowering hope, or faith, or love (or, sometimes, rage).

What is distinctive about this state is that it carries us beyond argument, because beyond presendy used language. It thereby carries us beyond the imagination of the present age of the world. [...]

In past ages of the world, things were so bad that 'a reason to believe, a way to take the world by the throat' was hard to get except by looking to a power not ourselves. In those days, there was little choice but to sacrifice the intellect in order to grasp hold of the premises of practical syllogisms - premises concerning the after-death consequences of baptism, pilgrimage or participation in holy wars. To be imaginative and to be religious, in those dark times, came to almost the same thing - for this world was too wretched to lift up the heart. But things are different now, because of human beings' gradual success in making their lives, and their world, less wretched. Nonreligious forms of romance have flourished - if only in those lucky parts of the world where wealth, leisure, literacy and democracy have worked together to prolong our lives and fill our libraries. Now the things of this world are, for some lucky people, so welcome that they do not have to look beyond nature to the supernatural, and beyond life to an afterlife, but only beyond the human past to the human future.

this whole passage is so good

—p.161 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 9 months ago