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John Dewey and the Ethics of Historical Belief

Religion and the Representation of the Past

Curtis Hutt

Publication Year: 2013

Uses the thought of John Dewey to address the ethics of historical belief within religious and critical historiographical traditions.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Historical Introduction: Providing Reliable Witness to the Past: The New Troubled Relationship between Historians and Believers

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pp. ix-xiv

Religious believers consistently turn to and are provided with knowledge of the past, produced in several different ways at various times and places, for guidance and authorization. History, even prior to its marriage to criticism in the modern age in the West, supplies precedents and legitimacy for behavior in countless presents.1 The vocations of ancient court chroniclers, compilers ...

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Chapter One: The Ethics of Finding and Making the Past

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pp. 1-16

In the wake of the rise of nation-states and remarkable technological advances, scientific historiography was born—propelled by the view that “what really happened” is a viable object of investigation.1 By freeing professional academic historians from the need to please autocrats and aligning their investigative practices with those techniques that had led to great...

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Chapter Two: Dewey and the Ethics of Historical Belief

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pp. 17-46

As Joseph Goebbels and the Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda prepared Germany for war, in the United States a debate over the character of historical knowledge was in full swing. In chapter 2, I am going to review an extraordinary though often overlooked contribution made to this debate by John Dewey—namely, a short and rare piece on ...

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Chapter Three: The Two Faces of Deweyan Pragmatism

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pp. 47-60

I do not expect my reading of Dewey on the justification of historical belief to go unchallenged. In chapter 3, I will present an alternative “Deweyan” view that I think is consistent with some arguments made by Richard Rorty. In his essay “Pragmatism without Method,” Rorty, in addition to describing Dewey’s legacy as divided, championed the idea that justification in ...

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Chapter Four: Justification, Entitlement, and Tradition: Debate After Dewey

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pp. 61-100

As noted by Richard Rorty in his essay “Is There a Problem about Fictional Discourse?” and others like Jacques Derrida,1 debates between historians and believers in contexts characterized by commitments to correspondence views of historical truth such as found in Ranke, Mandelbaum, and even Kloppenberg were dominated by attempts to discover references concerning what ...

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Chapter Five: Dewey and the Ethics of Historical Belief

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pp. 101-110

In the final pages of this monograph, I will advance what I consider to be a more faithful rendition of Dewey on the justification of historical belief. Justification in an orthodox Deweyan sense, in addition to necessarily depending upon the support that beliefs about the past receive from other beliefs about the past—and the present as well!—will also be characterized as a...


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pp. 111-144


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pp. 145-154


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pp. 155-170

Back Cover

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p. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9781438445700
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438445694

Page Count: 180
Publication Year: 2013