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Religious Pragmatism: Pragmatically Understanding The World's Religions
Henry Ruf

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Philosophical pragmatism began in the United States in the 19th century in order to escape deadlocked and futile debates about metaphysical reality and the foundations of human knowledge. Religious pragmatism is a philosophical movement that attempts to divorce religious life from its long and tragic history of being married to metaphysical theories and dogmatic religious claims. This lecture series will provide pragmatic interpretations of Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious ways of life. Sacred religious texts will be given pragmatic readings and the religious rituals, practices, and creeds in these religions will be given pragmatic interpretations. 
1. What is "Religious Pragmatism"? What is pragmatism? What is pragmatism's relation to the philosophies of Kant, Hegel, and Kierkegaard? How is the religious pragmatism of Pascal and William James relevant today?
2. Hinduism's Pragmatic Way of Life: What is Hinduism's pragmatic analysis of unworkable jiva forms of life and a workable Atman way of life seeking moksa? What are the major yoga Hinduism recommends to gain spiritual liberation?
3. Buddhist Pragmatism: The Buddhist rejection of metaphysical speculation in favor of finding a practical solution to human suffering caused by human craving. The Buddhist practical suggestions for working towards "nirvana."
4. Chinese Pragmatism: Pragmatic efforts by Legal Realists, Maoists, Confucianists to reform Chinese social life. The pragmatics of the Tao.
5. Jewish Pragmatics: The pragmatics of the Hebrew way of life. Recent Jewish philosophers and the pragmatics of religious living: Buber, Levinas, Derrida.
6. Christian Pragmatics: The pragmatics of the Christian way of life. Pragmatics interpretations of Kierkegaard on living by faith, Caputo on religious power, Marion on religious icons, Zizek on the fragility of the existence of the God of worship.
7. Pragmatic Readings of the Bible and Qu'ran: The pragmatic, literal, religious meaning of sacred texts. The hermeneutic circle. The pragmatics of the great Hebrew epi, the Christian gospels, what Muhammad heard and recited.
8. Living as a Religious Pragmatist in our Contemporary World. The pragmatics of religious creeds and rituals, religious ethics, pluralism, and political life.
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:  Dr. Henry Ruf USAF Veteran; BA Macalester College; MA, Ph.D. Emory University; Taught philosophy and literary criticism at Boston University, SUNY Oswego, West Virginia University, Truman State University, FAU. Fulbright lecturer in Japan, Thailand, China, Tibet, Pakistan. Dr. Ruf has written the following books: Moral Investigations; Investigating Philosophy; Postmodern Rationality, Social Criticism and Religion; World Religions in a Postmodern Age and Religious Pragmatism.

Time: 9:00 am - 10:45 am
Date: Mondays, January 5, 12, 26; February 2; 9, 16, 23; March 2
Location: Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
Fees: $68 member / $98 non-member

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