A Pragmatic Examination of A Secular Age

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Charles Taylor
A Secular Age
Karen Armstrong
Paul Kurtz
Pragmatic Value
Quebec Charter of Values

Inspired by William James’ description of pragmatism, this thesis investigates some conceivable effects of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age. It is argued that Taylor’s articulation of a shared pre-ontological outlook, referred to as the immanent frame, is pragmatically valuable because it exposes and invalidates a pervasive entrenchment between people of varied metaphysical outlooks. This thesis begins by recapitulating Taylor’s grand narrative explaining the origins and conditions of the immanent frame. It then analyzes selected works and social organizations created by Karen Armstrong andPaul Kurtz, which exemplify typical open and closed perspectives within the immanent frame. This analysis demonstrates how disparate agendas become appreciable as structurally opposed when recognized as typical orientations in the immanent frame, and how this recognition challenges each polemic. Finally, the Quebec Charter of Values is exposed as an attack on those who frame their lives in relation to something that transcends the immanent frame.

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Eleanor Stebner
Arts and Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Master of Arts