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Abstract

This essay is an outline of the most salient themes in American pragmatism. It seeks to flesh out those themes in relation to theology and religion. In doing so it stresses the reconstructive and democratic character of pragmatic thought and the manner in which they are expressed through a variety of pragmatic voices. This essay provides a general sketch of the origins and development of American pragmatism. It offers an overview of the pragmatic worldview. It identifies select representatives and expressions of pragmatic thinking. And it lays out the enduring challenges to pragmatism as a philosophical disposition and ethical practice. Overall, this essay offers a broad survey of pragmatic thinking since its emergence after the Civil War. It stresses the significant shifts which it has undertaken during in its short history. By giving attention to matters of race, religious pluralism, and changing contexts, this essay treats pragmatism as an intellectual and ethical impulse that is committed to human progress. Democracy, difference, and reconstruction are at the center of its efforts to improve our world.