Chris Skowroński (Opole University/Berlin Practical Philosophy International Forum) talks to Sami Pihlström (Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki) on the occasion of the Berlin Forum’s international conference they both co-organize at the Finnland Institut in Berlin (July 10-13, 2017). The general title of the conference is “Pragmatist Kant” and its main idea is to discuss various aspects of the pragmatist philosophy and the Kantian philosophy as seen from the viewpoint of their mutual interrelationships. Professor Sami Pihlström is talking about his own contribution to the project. He discusses his ideas that are present in his paper/speech, entitled “Jamesian Pragmatism, Rortyan Ironism, and Kantian Antitheodicy.” He briefly explains some practical aspects of his theoretical investigations on religion, ethics, evil, suffering, and others. For example, one can detect a practical dimension of a philosophical discussion on suffering while looking for its possible justification. More generally, some people can ask: is there any deeper sense in suffering? Various philosophies provide us with different answers to this question. Both pragmatism and Kantianism do not see any cosmic, divine, and universal justification of evil and suffering.
Sami Pihlström is a professor of philosophy of religion; his recent book, co-authored with Sari Kivistö, is entitled Kantian Antitheodicy: Philosophical and Literary Varieties. In his numerous books and papers he investigates the problems of metaphysics and religion in the philosophical tradition of American pragmatism, and its relationships with the philosophy of I. Kant and the Kantian tradition in general.