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dc.contributor.advisorWoelfel, James
dc.contributor.authorMusil, Brad
dc.description.abstractIn contrast to the truth of religion, the utility of religion has been a historically-underappreciated subject of philosophical scholarship and everyday discourse, and this dissertation aims to draw more attention to the fruits of religion in everyday life. The utility of religion is an expansive topic and, in the interest of offering a reasonable treatment of it, the dissertation focuses on outlining the insights offered by three nineteenth-century philosophers in particular, for whom the utility of religion was an important issue: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), and William James (1842-1910); this is accomplished by devoting a chapter to a text authored by each of these thinkers: 1) Utility of Religion (Mill), 2) The Anti-Christ (Nietzsche), and 3) The Varieties of Religious Experience (James). In these works, Mill, Nietzsche, and James defend a variety of positions regarding the utility of religion, and they offer an illuminating survey of the many relevant issues (e.g. the relationship between religion and morality and the relationship between religion and happiness). The dissertation advances conclusions regarding the utility of religion in view of the textual analyses offered, and it highlights the significance of--and a vision for--future scholarship devoted to the topic in light of these conclusions. Specifically, it proposes that we have good reasons to question the moral advantages frequently ascribed to religion, but that religion is nonetheless vitally useful for some--and perhaps many--individuals who would otherwise never be able to find happiness. Although it is possible for some to experience lasting happiness without the aid of religion (contrary to what James suggests), others require religious salvation in order to find peace of mind (contrary to what Mill, to a lesser extent, and Nietzsche, to a greater extent, suggest).
dc.format.extent222 pages
dc.publisherUniversity of Kansas
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
dc.subjectPhilosophy of Religion
dc.titleThe Utility of Religion: Mill, Nietzsche, and James
dc.contributor.cmtememberEggleston, Ben
dc.contributor.cmtememberTuozzo, Thomas
dc.contributor.cmtememberDorsey, Dale
dc.contributor.cmtememberZimdars-Swartz, Sandra

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