Josiah Royce

Pragmatist, Ethicist, Philosopher of Religion
Edited by Christoph Seibert and Christian Polke

[Josiah Royce. Pragmatiker, Ethiker, Religionsphilosoph.]

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Published in English.
Josiah Royce is regarded as one of the most important representatives of classical American philosophy. Long time forgotten, he conceptualized an entirely original synthesis of pragmatism and idealism. At a time when there is renewed debate about what actually holds societies together, what an ethic for pluralism looks like, and what role religious convictions can play, Royce's philosophy proves to be immensely topical.
Josiah Royce was undoubtedly one of the most interesting thinkers of classical American philosophy in the transition from the 19th to the 20th century. His works cover a wide range of subjects from psychology and issues of social philosophy to metaphysics. Surrounded by philosophers such as William James or Charles Sanders Peirce, Royce developed a concept of pragmatism which he himself called »absolute pragmatism« and which was centred around a theory of community. The essays in this edited volume deal with this pragmatistic approach in his work and discuss it from various points of view. Among other things, they explore Royce's relationship to German idealism, the foundation of his ethics as well as his philosophical doctrine of God and his philosophy of religion. This results in rather divergent assessments of his philosophy, each of which is evidence of the enduring relevance of his thinking for the world of today.
Survey of contents
Bridging Two Continents: Royce between Pragmatism and Idealism
Ludwig Nagl: Towards a Globalized Philosophical Discourse on Religion: Royce Re-reads Kant and Hegel in the Light of James and Peirce (thereby opening »Windows to Asian Thought«) – Christoph Seibert: The Ethical Nucleus of Reality. Reflections on the Foundations of Royce's Theory of Knowledge – Douglas Anderson: What Philosophy Meant to Josiah Royce

The Individual and the Community: The Ethics of Loyalty
Dwayne Tunstall: We Are Destined to Be Moral Failures. Royce's Ethical Insights and His Acknowledgment of Our Inevitable Moral Failure – Alexander Filipović: Royce and Mead on the Foundations of Ethics – Magnus Schlette: »[…] choose your cause and serve it«. The Individualization of the Moral Law according to Simmel and Royce – Christian Polke: Loyalty and Covenant. On Royce's Spiritual Communitarianism

Interpreting Religious Experience: The Meaning of the Absolute
Robert Neville: Royce's Philosophy of Religion. A Critical Appraisal – Gesche Linde: »[A] religion of the social consciousness«: Royce's Translation of Christian Religion into Social Philosophy and his Concept of Interpretation – Heiko Schulz: The Unsurpassable Good. Reconsidering Royce's Theodicy – Martin Wendte: »The Interpreter who interprets all to all«. The Approach of Royce in his Later Works to the Idea of the Absolute – in Conversation with the Idea of God as omnitudo realitatis, from Kant via Hegel to the later Schelling

Christoph Seibert is Professor of Systematic Theology, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Hamburg.

Christian Polke (1980–2023) was Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen.


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