Thomas L. Dumm

in Crediting God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233199
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823233212 | DOI:

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This chapter takes up the Tocquevillian motif of an individualism in American democratic society (“loneliness”) as the basis from which to begin to think about the possibility of freedom of thought—a freedom that, on one reading of Tocqueville, is impossible without religious faith: thus the conjunction of freedom with conversion. It thinks of conversion not as what leads from immanence to transcendence, but in the sense issued into Western consciousness by the greatest of all “conversi,” Baruch Spinoza, who proposed the basic terms with which we are all still struggling for how one should think about the relation between republicanism and religion.

Keywords: Tocqueville; individualism; loneliness; freedom of thought; religious faith; Baruch Spinoza

Chapter.  5511 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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