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v2.1 Reference

The Philosophy of John Henry Newman and Pragmatism

A Comparison

In recent years, interest in John Henry Newman as a philosopher has gained momentum. This work places his philosophical insights in conversation with philosophers from the pragmatic tradition, particularly with C. S. Peirce, the classical pragmatists, and those who have followed their line, and shows several lines of concurrence. It argues that Newman overcame the modern philosophy of his time by reconnecting to the Aristotelian tradition in a very similar way to how Peirce did it fifty years later and the new pragmatists a century after.

Without claiming that Newman is a pragmatist philosopher, pragmatism is used as a foil, or point of access, to delve into Newman's philosophy and bring forth the richness of his thought while placing him in the canon of philosophy. This approach deepens the understanding of his philosophical contributions and widens their reach to circles that have previously not engaged with him. Further, this study provides a means to understand pragmatism's resources from a seldom-used vantage point and perhaps appreciate its fruitfulness in a new way.

Much emphasis is placed in Newman's texts that refer to his search for and commitment to the truth. The particular nuances of his thought that are brought to light showcase the effective intellectual resources that his writings contain. Newman does not provide ready-made answers to today's questions, but the way he analyzes and engages with the quandaries of his time can point us to creative and fruitful ways of engaging with those of our times.

About the Authors

Marial Corona is an adjunct professor for the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Frederick D. Aquino is a professor in the graduate school of theology at Abilene Christian University.


"A carefully written and insightful discussion of John Henry Newman's philosophy against the conceptual background supplied by classical American pragmatism...an important and novel contribution to scholarship."—Michael L. Raposa, Lehigh University

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August 4, 2023
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