Self, God, and Immortality: A Jamesian Investigation

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9780877224280: Self, God, and Immortality: A Jamesian Investigation

Can we who have been touched by the scientific, intellectual, and experimental revolutions of modem and contemporary times still believe with any degree of coherence and consistency that we as individual persons are immortal? Indeed, is there even good cause to hope that we are? In examining the present relationship of reason to faith, can we find justifying reasons for faith? These are the central questions in Self, God, and Immortality, a compelling exercise in philosophical theology.

Drawing upon the works of William James and the principles of American Pragmatism, Eugene Fontinell extrapolates carefully from "data given in experience" to a model of the cosmic process open to the idea that individual identity may survive bodily dissolution.

Presupposing that the possibility of personal immortality has been established in the first part, the second part of the essay is concerned with its desirability. Here, Fontinell shows that, far from diverting attention and energies from the crucial tasks confronting us here and now, such belief can be energizing and life enhancing.

The wider importance of Self, God, and Immortality lies in its pressing both immortality-believers and terminality-believers to explore both the metaphysical presuppositions and the lived consequences of their beliefs. It is the author's expressed hope that such explorations, rather than impeding, will stimulate co-operative efforts to create a richer and more humane community.

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About the Author:

Eugene Fontinell is Professor of Philosophy at Queens College, City University of New York.

Review:

“A provocative interpretation of James and an open-ended claim for a religious view that does not fly in the face of what we know about ourselves and our world. Recommended.” (―Choice)

...is a substantial contribution to scholarship on James but also to contemporary efforts to do constructive religious thinking... (―The Journal of Religion)

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