Spiritual Pragmatism: New Pathways of Transformation for the Posthuman



Pragmatism has been an important philosophical and sociocultural movement in the USA which has influenced our view of language, social reality and human condition. American pragmatism as cultivated by C.S. Pierce and John Dewey has influenced postwar continental philosophy in the works of seekers such as Karl Otto-Apel and Jürgen Habermas which has influenced our concepts of language and the human condition. In the works of Apel and Habermas, we see a mutual dialogue between American pragmatism and streams in continental philosophy namely Kant leading to what is called Kantian pragmatism which has opened up pragmatism to new realities and possibilities. This dialogue now needs to be broadened and needs to be part of what can be called planetary conversations. This can include dialogues with thinkers such as Sri Aurobindo and Heidegger who can help us realize the spiritual dimension of pragmatism. My essay charts the path of spiritual pragmatism which can help us rethink and transform the idea of the human in our posthuman landscape. It argues how spiritual pragmatism involves interpenetration of spiritual and material, immanent and transcendence, capability and transcendence. It also involves a transformation of anthropocentrism and a creative mutual interpenetration of human, nature and divine. Posthuman strives to go beyond the dualism of man and nonhuman, and in my essay, I argue how spiritual pragmatics can help us in overcoming these boundaries. The conventional representation of the posthuman mainly takes a technological turn, and it does not explore the challenge of divinization of the human. In my essay, I explore all the dimensions of the posthuman including humanization of the divine and divinization of the human.


Mystical Experience Spiritual Dimension Spiritual Struggle American Pragmatism Transcendental Dimension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ambedkar, B. R. (2011). In A. S. Rathore & A. Verma (Eds.), The Buddha and his dhamma. Critical Edition. Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anand, S. (2004). Hindu inspiration for christian reflections: Towards a Hindu-Christian theology. Anand: Gujarat Sahitya Prakashan.Google Scholar
  3. Bartolf, C. (2014). Tolstoy and practical spirituality. Gandhi Marg, 36(2&3), 431–438.Google Scholar
  4. Beck, U., & Beck-Gernsheim, E. (1995). The normal chaos of love, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beck, U. (2000). The brave new world of work. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, P. (1971). The outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brier, S. (2016). C.S. Pierce’s semiotic conception of science and religion. In A. K. Giri (Ed.), Research as realization: Science, spirituality and harmony. Delhi: Primus Books.Google Scholar
  8. Bussey, M. (2014). Towards spiritual pragmatics: Reflections from the graveyards of culture. In A. K. Giri (Ed.), Special Issue on Pragmatism and Spirituality. 3D: IBA Journal of Management.Google Scholar
  9. Chatterjee, M. (2009). Inter-religious communication: A Gandhian perspective. Delhi: Promilla & Co.Google Scholar
  10. Cousins, E. H. (1992). Christ of the 21st Century. New York: Cotinuum.Google Scholar
  11. Coward, H. (1989). Language in Sri Aurobindo. Journal of South Asian Literature, 24(1), 141–153.Google Scholar
  12. Dallmayr, F. (2007). Liberal democracy and its critics: Some voices from East and West. Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, XXIV(4), 1–24.Google Scholar
  13. Das, C. R. (2004). Mahimandalara Gita, Sri Arakhita Das, EKa Adhyana [The Gita of the world, a study of Sri Arakhita Das]. Bhubaneswar: Odisha Sahitya Akademi.Google Scholar
  14. Das, V. (2007). Life and words: Violence and the descent into the ordinary. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. Derrida, J. (2008). The animal that therefore i am. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Escobar, A. (1995). Encountering development: the making and unmaking of the third world. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Ezzat, H. (2005). Beyond methodological modernism: towards a multicultural paradigm shift in the social sciences. In Helmut Anhelier et al. (Eds.), Global civil society 2004/2005 London: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Faubion, J. D. (Ed.). (1995). Rethinking the subject: An anthology of contemporary European thought. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  19. Gasper et al. (2015). Human security and social quality: contrasts and complementarities. In A. K. Giri (Ed.), New horizons of human development. New Delhi: Studera Press.Google Scholar
  20. Ghosh, R. (2008). Humans, truth and freedom: essays in modern Indian philosophy. New Delhi: Northern Book Center.Google Scholar
  21. Giri, A. K. (2006). Creative social research: Rethinking theories and methods and the calling of an ontological epistemology of participation. Dialectical Anthropology, 30, 227–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Giri, A. K. (Ed.) (2009). The modern prince and the modern sage: transforming power and freedom. Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Giri, A. K. (2012). Sociology and beyond: Windows and horizons. Jaipur: Rawat Publications.Google Scholar
  24. Giri, A. K. (2013). Knowledge and human liberation: Towards planetary realizations. London: Anthem Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Giri, A. K. (2014a). Poetics of development. Lecture presented at Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.Google Scholar
  26. Giri, A. K. (2014b). The multiverse of Hindu engagement with Christianity: Plural streams of creative co-walking, contradictions and confrontations. In F. Wilfred (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of Christianity in Asia. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Giri, A. K. (2015). Life world and life words. Manuscript of an essay to be submitted.Google Scholar
  28. Habermas, J. (1971). Knowledge and human interest. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  29. Habermas, J. (2002). Postscript: Some concluding remarks. In M. B. Aboulfia & C. Kemp (Eds.), Habermas and pragmatism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Hague, P. (2014). Mystical pragmatics. In A. K. Giri (Ed.), Special issue on pragmatism and spirituality. 3D: IBA Journal of Management.Google Scholar
  31. Haraway, D. (2008). When species meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  32. Hartz, R. (2016, February 8–9). Spiritual pragmatism: William James, Sri Aurobindo and global philosophy. Paper presented at the International Conference on “Pragmatism and Spirituality.” Bangalore.Google Scholar
  33. Heidegger, M. (2004). The way to language. In idem, Basic writings. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Holzman, L. (2008). Vygotsky at work and play: Social therapeutics. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Irigaray, L. (2002). Between East and West: From singularity to community. NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Joas, H. (1993). Pragmatism and social theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  37. Luchte, J. (2009). Under the aspect of time: Heidegger, Wittgenstein and the place of nothing. Philosophy Today, 53(1).Google Scholar
  38. Melucci, A. (2002). The playing self: person and meaning in planetary society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Mieth, D. (2009). Meister Eckhart: The power of inner liberation. In A. K. Giri (Ed.), Modern prince and the modern sage: Transforming power and freedom (pp. 405–428). New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  40. Panikkar, R. (2010). The rhythm of being: the unbroken trinity. The gifford lectures. New York: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
  41. Petrilli, S. (2010). Sign crossroads in global perspective: semioethics and responsibility. New York: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  42. Reid, H., & Taylor, B. (2010). Recovering the commons: Democracy, place and global justice. Urbana Champagne: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  43. Rolland, R. (1954 [1929]). The life of Ramakrishna. Mayavati, Almora: Advaita Ashram.Google Scholar
  44. Schouten, J. P. (2012). Jesus as Guru: The image of Christ among Hindus and Christians in India. Delhi: Overseas Press India.Google Scholar
  45. Skof, L. (2011). Pragmatism and deepened democracy: Ambedkar between Dewey and Unger. In A. Bilgrami (Ed.), Democratic culture: Historical and philosophical essays (pp. 122–142). Delhi: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Sri Aurobindo. (1962). Human cycle. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram.Google Scholar
  47. Sri Aurobindo. (1970). Life divine. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram.Google Scholar
  48. Sri Aurobindo. (1972). Letters on poetry, literature and art. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram.Google Scholar
  49. Sri Aurobindo. (1997). Future poetry. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram.Google Scholar
  50. Steiner, R. (1985). The renewal of social organism. Steiner Books.Google Scholar
  51. Strydom, P. (2009). New horizons of critical theory: Collective learning and triple contingency. Delhi: Shipra.Google Scholar
  52. Unger, R. M. (2007) The self awakened: Pragmatism unbound. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Vandenberg, F. (2014). What’s critical about critical theory?. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. Vattimo, G. (2011). A farewell to truth. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Vivekananda, S. (1991). The collected works of swami Vivekananda. Chennai: Advaita Ashram.Google Scholar
  56. West, C. (1999). On prophetic pragmatism. In The Cornell West reader. New York: Basic Civitas Books.Google Scholar
  57. Wilfred, F. (2009). Play of power and struggle for freedom in renaissance humanism: erasmus between scylla and charybdis. In A. K. Giri (Ed.), The modern prince and the modern sage: transforming power and freedom. Delhi: Sage Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Madras Institute of Development StudiesChennaiIndia

Personalised recommendations