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On the Possibilities of Spirituality and Religious Humanism in Gerontology or Reflections of One Aging American Cultural Historian

Thomas R. Cole


INTRODUCTION

In this chapter, I try to articulate some ideas about science, humanism, religion, and aging that have been trying to form themselves in my mind over the last few years. What follows is a speculative, often deliberately provocative line of thinking about how a postmodern religious humanism might contribute to gerontology.

To begin this task, I undertake an intellectually reflexive account of my own thought, which I hope will not appear too self-indulgent. Specifically, I need to pick up a line of thinking that originated in my work on the history of aging in America. I realize that my remarks emerge from and are limited by my specific location in early twenty-first century American culture, and I offer them not as monological truths but as contributions to an ongoing dialogue about meaning in later life. This chapter, we might say, takes the form of intellectual autobiography as a means of pursuing humanistic or critical or cultural gerontology. (We

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Cultural Gerontology
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