Skip to main content


  • 106 Accesses

Part of the Studies in Humanism and Atheism book series (SHA)


Making this world a home is an existential and cooperative task. A humanist re-reading of philosophical pragmatism suggests critical and transformative perspectives on science, religion, and the way we live together. Its pluralist outlook allows for an encompassing humanism that bridges the gap between believers and non-believers. Moreover, it is a way of life.


  • Atheism
  • Humanism
  • Pragmatism
  • Pluralism
  • William James
  • F. C. S. Schiller

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-02441-3_1
  • Chapter length: 6 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-02441-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)


  1. 1.

    I am following here Dworkin, Ronald. 2013. Religion Without God. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press, especially 2–10, de Botton, Alain. 2012. Religion for Atheists. A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion. New York: Pantheon Books and Kristeva, Julia. 2012. “Zehn Prinzipien für den Humanismus des 21. Jahrhunderts. Vortrag an der Universität Rom III am 26. Oktober 2011 unter Teilnahme der Delegation der Humanisten und des Kardinals Ravasi.” In Selig, die Frieden stiften. Assisi – Zeichen gegen Gewalt. ed. Roman A. Siebenrock/Jan-Heiner Tück. Freiburg/Basel/Wien: Herder, who are prominent current advocates for giving up the logic of believers versus non-believers and drawing on religious ideas from a humanist or atheist perspective. For further reading on the art of living together (“con-vivialism”) and a “new humanism” as a response to current global challenges, see The Convivialist Manifesto. A Theory of Interdependence ( (04.07.2018)).

  2. 2.

    For further reading on the optionality of religious faith, see, for example, Taylor, Charles. 2007. A Secular Age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Joas, Hans. 2014. Faith as an Option. Possible Futures for Christianity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

  3. 3.

    “Making the world a home means, both metaphorically and quite literally, creating a space or thought and action within which we feel a relatively high degree of familiarity and safety, and where that familiarity and safety help ensure tolerance towards others and a willingness to engage in challenges and problems that we come across” (Zackariasson, Ulf. 2016. “Miracle and the Miraculous: A Pragmatic Approach”, Pragmatism Today 7 No. 1, 100–112, 101).

  4. 4.

    The feminist critique of James’ sexism, for example, is crucial. A truly fundamental study on this has been provided by Seigfried, Charlene H. 1996. Pragmatism and Feminism. Reweaving the Social Fabric. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press. For an analysis of the particular Jamesian sexism, see 111–142. A very productive continuation of this critical dealing can be found in Erin C. Tarver and Shannon Sullivan (ed.). 2015. Feminist Interpretations of William James. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. Schiller’s eugenic and fascist aspirations, in contrast, are somewhat beyond of what can be fruitfully criticized. They can only serve as a caveat against thinking along particular premises (progressivism, evolutionary humanism, classism), and also for correcting all too optimistic assumptions about philosophical pragmatism, see Porrovecchio, Mark J. 2010. “Cracks in the Pragmatic Façade: F. C. S. Schiller and the Nature of Counter-Democratic Tendencies”. Etica & Politica/Ethics & Politics XII No. 1, 86–112, and Honnacker, Ana (2018). “Man as the Measure of All Things. Pragmatic Humanism and Its Pitfalls”. In Humanism and the Challenge of Difference. ed. Anthony B. Pinn. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 135–164.


  • James, William. 1975 [1907]. Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking. The Works of William James, vol. 1. Ed. Fredson Bowers and Ignas K. Skrupskelis. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Honnacker, A. (2018). Introduction. In: Pragmatic Humanism Revisited. Studies in Humanism and Atheism. Palgrave Pivot, Cham.

Download citation