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Preludes to PragmatismToward a Reconstruction of Philosophy$
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Philip Kitcher

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199899555

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199899555.001.0001

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Militant Modern Atheism

Militant Modern Atheism

Chapter:
(p.288) 12 Militant Modern Atheism
Source:
Preludes to Pragmatism
Author(s):

Kitcher Philip

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199899555.003.0013

This chapter considers blunt naturalism more directly, as it has emerged recently in the writings of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett. It argues that the militant modern atheists are completely successful in their opposition to certain forms of religion—indeed, to forms that are widespread in the contemporary world. Despite this success, there are other models of the religious life that can be defended against their attacks. People whose primary religious stance is an orientation towards certain values, rather than acquiescence in particular doctrines, can be free of supernaturalistic commitments or, if mythologically entangled, committed only in a way that is excusable. The chapter's defense of these orientation models revives pragmatist themes: the importance of values in religious life and of projects undertaken in community with others for the realization of those values.

Keywords:   blunt naturalism, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, religion, pragmatism, religious life

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