By Joan A. Price
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Extra info for Contemporary Thought
13 For Nietzsche, the death of God was the fault of the churches. People became part of the “herd mentality” by looking to the authority of the church for all their answers to life. Instead, they should have relied on themselves. Yet, Nietzsche viewed the loss of belief in God as the way for unique individuals to develop fully. The Christian god, with his commands and judgments, no longer stood in the way. The death of God meant freedom: Indeed, we philosophers and “free spirits” feel, when we hear the news that “the old god is dead,” as if a new dawn shone on us; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement, premonitions, expectation.
Dewey saw a deep need to reorganize our social and physical environment. He criticized the empiricists for thinking that our ideas refer to fixed things in nature, and he criticized the rationalists, such as Descartes, for considering nature one thing and the mind another. ” Agreeing with Darwin’s theory of evolution, Dewey viewed human beings as biological organisms. Based on this notion of biological evolution, Dewey believed that human beings would evolve morally, thus creating a better society through improvements in education.
Rather, he was talking about a “real fight” for something important, such as the struggle between good and evil. We need to fight evil. We might find evil in the form of prejudice, animal cruelty, or toxic dumping. When we do, we can ignore it, simply voice our objections, or actively do something about the evil. If we confront it, we may be taking risks. To James, however, we have at least fought for an important cause. For my own part, I do not know what the sweat and blood of this life mean, if they mean anything short of this.