Pragmatism and the Rise of Religious Humanism. The Writings of Albert Eustace Haydon (1880-1975)

This book primarily contains unpublished writings of Albert Eustace Haydon (1880-1975). This volume includes Haydon’s doctoral dissertation, “The Conception of God in the Pragmatic Philosophy” and The Heritage of Eastern Asia (1932).

Haydon was a sophisticated researcher in the field of Religious Studies and was particularly interested in the modern trends in major religions of the world. He contented that the creative source of all religions was to be discovered in the social and physical struggle for the values of existence. Haydon stressed that the religions face the supreme test of adapting to a new age, while at the same time trying to combat the inertia of their tradition by transforming these ancient ways of thinking and acting.

In the 1920s, religious humanism as a philosophical and religious position was gaining strength in Unitarian circles, especially in the Chicago area. At the University of Chicago, Haydon taught a functional view of religion as humanly created in a variety of forms in the quest for a satisfying life. Haydon was a key contributor in writing Humanist Manifesto (1933) and was also a leader in founding the American Humanist movement. Upon retirement from the University of Chicago, Haydon accepted the role of leader of the Ethical Society of Chicago. It was in this capacity that the addresses and radio talks included in these volumes were presented.

Researchers and others interested in the history of American Humanism or the development of the Ethical movement will discover much of interest in the writings on this pioneering thinker.


“Albert Eustace Haydon was one of the pioneers in what we call today Religious Studies. He was a well-versed and sophisticated researcher in this field. He was also a creative skeptic who nevertheless held to the importance of the religions of the world. Not only is his stance that of an appreciative skeptic, relevant today, but the details of his conclusions are still useful. Haydon’s writings continue today as one of the most important interpretations of human religions from a humanist perspective. These volumes will make available key parts of Haydon’s writings never before published in book form, as well as republishing The Heritage of Eastern Asia. For those students and scholars concerned with the development of American philosophy and liberal religious thought will find the volumes of significant value.” – (from the Foreword) Jerome A. Stone, Professor Emeritus, William Rainey Harper College, Illinois

Table of Contents


Volume I:
The Historical Context: 1880-1918
The Conception of God in the Pragmatic Philosophy
Historical Context: 1919-1932
The Heritage of Eastern Asia
Bibliography of Albert Eustace Haydon