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Title: Belief, unbelief and Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion
Author: Crowder, C. G.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1993
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The interpretations of religious belief associated with philosophers in the Wittgensteinian tradition are widely misunderstood, as are the corresponding - but less well-known - interpretations of atheism. Instead of being a theory about autonomous 'language games', the Wittgensteinian approach is, in fact, a means of securing perspicuous representations of the relations between language and human practices; and the discourses of belief and unbelief are as rooted in our natural and cultural histories as any others. Foundationalist philosophers of religion isolate the discourses of belief and unbelief from human lives, both in describing the conflict between belief and unbelief and in attempting to arbitrate between the two. Assuming that metaphysical theism and atheism are fundamental to belief and unbelief, they advance a cognitivist and propositionalist analysis of both phenomena which is sometimes incoherent, and almost always impoverishing. Similarly, assuming that the conflict between belief and unbelief is a 'factual' one, they advocate ways of resolving it which betray a misunderstanding of the character of the conflict as it occurs in the lives of believers and atheists. The design argument, past and present, is a case in point: natural theology and natural atheology prove to be alike in misrepresenting perspectives upon the world as inferences drawn from it. Hume's Dialogues demonstrate the sheer irrelevance of the latter to the conflict between belief and unbelief, and compel us to reflect upon that conflict in different ways.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available