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Cuicuilco. Revista de ciencias antropológicas

versión On-line ISSN 2448-8488versión impresa ISSN 2448-9018


SCHAFFHAUSER, Philippe. The (religious) belief in a pragmatic perspective: a dialogue between James and Peirce. Cuicuilco. Rev. cienc. antropol. [online]. 2019, vol.26, n.74, pp.105-135. ISSN 2448-8488.

Sociologists and anthropologists often stumble upon the problem of belief; sometimes it becomes an intellectual headache. The ‘playing’ with language with regard to this concept is broad; as such, the possibilities of confusion are immense. Faced with this difficulty, resorting to pragmatism to problematize the issue of belief can be a double-edged sword since, on the one hand, it can lead to an increase in the academic cacophony existing around this topic, whilst on the other, it could be interpreted as the perfect moment to take a heuristic step towards a different conception/view of this object of study. Therein lies the challenge faced by this paper. This article presents the main theses of James and Peirce regarding the ‘problem’ of belief, whilst emphasizing their respective originality, in an attempt to draw some practical and methodological consequences from them for the benefit of anthropological reflection on the relationship between ones’ own beliefs and the beliefs of others. Finally, over and above its philosophical stand, this article should be considered as a contribution to the reflection on ethnocentrism and the theoretical-methodological bases of its criticism; that is, the modalities of exploration concerning the distance that separates the anthropologist from the other, insofar as both are always culturally situated subjects.

Palabras llave : Pragmatism; belief; doubt; action; religiosity; religion.

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