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The Religion of a Skeptic: Frank H. Knight on Ethics, Spirituality, and Religion during His Iowa Years


  • Ross B. Emmett


Frank H. Knight's antagonism to religion is well known and features prominently in his writings from the 1930s on. But during the 1920s, when he was a professor at the University of Iowa and wrote some of his most important essays on the limitations of economics, Knight was an active participant in the Iowa City Unitarian Church. Drawing on research about his association with the Unitarian Church, and his unpublished writings from the period on religion, economics, and social organization, the essay argues that the Unitarian association provided a community open to discussing the multidimensionality of human experience, which assisted Knight in his investigation of ethics, economics, science, and liberal democracy. In the end, however, his association with the Unitarians ceased when he moved back to the University of Chicago in 1928.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross B. Emmett, 2008. "The Religion of a Skeptic: Frank H. Knight on Ethics, Spirituality, and Religion during His Iowa Years," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 40(5), pages 315-337, Supplemen.
  • Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:40:y:2008:i:5:p:315-337

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bénédicte Vidaillet & V. D'Estaintot & P. Abécassis, 2005. "Introduction," Post-Print hal-00287137, HAL.
    2. Alberto Baccini, 2004. "High pressure and black clouds: Keynes and the frequentist theory of probability," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(5), pages 653-666, September.
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    Frank H. Knight; University of Iowa; unitarian;


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