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Walter Scott Stepanenko
John Carroll University
  1.  84
    The Fruits of the Unseen: A Jamesian Challenge to Explanatory Reductionism in Accounts of Religious Experience.Walter Scott Stepanenko - 2020 - Open Theology 6 (1):54-65.
    In Religious Experience, Wayne Proudfoot argued that a tout court rejection of reductionism in accounts of religious experience was not viable. According to Proudfoot, it’s possible to distinguish between an illegitimate practice of descriptive reductionism and the legitimate practice of explanatory reductionism. The failure to distinguish between these two forms of reductionism resulted in a protective strategy, or an attempt to protect religious experience from the reach of scientific explanation. Among the theorists whom he accused of deploying this illegitimate strategy (...)
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  2. A new name for some old ways of thinking: pragmatism, radical empiricism, and epistemology in W.E.B. Du Bois’s “Of the Sorrow Songs”.Walter Scott Stepanenko - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 87 (2):173-192.
    When William James published Pragmatism, he gave it a subtitle: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking. In this article, I argue that pragmatism is an epistemological method for articulating success in, and between, a plurality of practices, and that this articulation helped James develop radical empiricism. I contend that this pluralistic philosophical methodology is evident in James’s approach to philosophy of religion, and that this method is also exemplified in the work of one of James’s most famous (...)
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  3.  47
    Ecclesial Belonging in a World of Pure Experience: William James, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Religious Rationality in Crisis.Walter Scott Stepanenko - 2021 - Open Theology 7 (1):111-128.
    The global COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted several instances of churches violating state issued and scientifically recommended guidelines designed to keep populations healthy and to prevent the further spread of the disease. While these instances are minority responses to these orders, they nonetheless raise questions about the rationality of ecclesial belonging in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, I draw on the work of William James and W. E. B. Du Bois to articulate a conception of ecclesial belonging as (...)
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  4.  90
    Jamesian Finite Theism and the Problems of Suffering.Walter Scott Stepanenko - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 10 (4):1-25.
    William James advocated a form of finite theism, motivated by epistemological and moral concerns with scholastic theism and pantheism. In this article, I elaborate James’s case for finite theism and his strategy for dealing with these concerns, which I dub the problems of suffering. I contend that James is at the very least implicitly aware that the problem of suffering is not so much one generic problem but a family of related problems. I argue that one of James’s great contributions (...)
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  5.  37
    The Epistemic Parity of Religious-Apologetic and Religion-Debunking Responses to the Cognitive Science of Religion.Walter Scott Stepanenko - 2021 - Religions 12 (7):466.
    Recent work in the cognitive science of religion has challenged some of the explanatory assumptions of previous research in the field. Nonetheless, some of the practitioners of the new cognitive science of religion theorize in the same skeptical spirit as their predecessors and either imply or explicitly claim that their projects undermine the warrant of religious beliefs. In this article, I argue that these theories do no additional argumentative work when compared to previous attempts to debunk religious belief and that (...)
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