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PEIRCE'S PRAGMATIC THEOLOGY AND STOIC RELIGIOUS ETHICS

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ABSTRACT

Charles S. Peirce believed that his pragmatic philosophy could reconcile religion and science and that this reconciliation involves a religious ethics creating a real community with the cosmos and God. After some rival pragmatic approaches to God and religious belief inconsistent with Peirce's philosophy are set aside, his metaphysical plan for a reconciliation of religion and science is outlined. A panentheistic God makes the best match with his desired conclusions from the Neglected Argument for the reality of God, and this God is also capable of fulfilling the pragmatic role demanded by Peirce's ethical expectations for the intelligent functioning of religion. The discussion proceeds to an elaboration of the aesthetic, metaphysical, and ethical elements of Peirce's philosophical system, which indicate why Peirce's religious ethics is best categorized as akin to Stoicism, with some Christian elements. For Peirce, religious ethics proceeds from the (potentially universal) agapic community's cooperation with God's loving creativity of the universe.
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Keywords: C. S. Peirce; Christianity; Stoicism; agapic community; panentheism; pragmatism; religious ethics; summum bonum

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Inquiry, University at Buffalo

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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