This issue of The Journal of Speculative Philosophy marks the beginning of the second year of its status as the official journal of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (SAAP). The establishment of this partnership in the past year has been easy and uneventful because this formal association is a natural. Long rooted in American philosophical traditions, JSP is committed to serving as an outlet for the highest quality original historical, imaginative, and critical thought. Beyond that, JSP is determined to take an active role in developing and expanding that thought—as the recent issues on ethnicity and identity and on deliberation and democracy make evident. SAAP similarly is committed, as its name makes clear, to the advancement, critical assessment, and reconstruction of multiple traditions of American cultures.
The articles that follow were selected by blind review from the papers presented at SAAP's 31st annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, 4-6 March 2004. Their thought-provoking excellence will surprise no one familiar with the scholarship the Society fosters. They illustrate the vital breadth of the Society's pluralistic historical and contemporary concerns—from Royce and Dewey to Addams and DuBois, from grace and pacifism to philosophical method and educational objectives, and from democracy and pluralism to civil rights, race, racism, and racial privilege—topics at the heart of SAAP's overarching theme for this meeting, "Religion and Civil Rights." These topics also signal one of many ongoing challenges to the genuine advancement of American thought and life. Both the Journal and the Society are committed to the long road that is this advancement. The articles included here are steps in that direction.
I invite you to lend your ideas and your hand to the concerns of both the JSP and SAAP. If you do so, you may surprise yourself and, in turn, you may surprise others.