Simple Objects of Comparison for Complex Grammars: An Alternative Strand in Wittgenstein's Later Remarks on Religion
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Investigations 35 (1):18-42 (2012)
The predominant interpretation of Wittgenstein's later remarks on religion takes him to hold that all religious utterances are non-scientific, and to hold that the way to show that religious utterances are non-scientific is to identify and characterise the grammatical rules governing their use. This paper claims that though this does capture one strand of Wittgenstein's later thought on religion, there is an alternative strand of that thought which is quite different and more nuanced. In this alternative strand Wittgenstein stresses that religious utterances and beliefs can come in both scientific and non-scientific varieties. More than that, he claims that the grammar of religious utterances, and the logic of religious beliefs, is often complex – in that individual utterances and beliefs will often be mixed between, indeterminate between, or fluid between being scientific and being non-scientific. This complexity means that it will often be unhelpful to try to pin down one particular grammar or logic for a given utterance or belief. Wittgenstein therefore suggests a new method of grammatical and logical investigation, which is less likely to distort complex grammars or logics by being overly simplistic or rigid. This method is to use simple examples of utterances and beliefs as objects of comparison, so as to illuminate the different aspects of the more complex actual utterances and beliefs under examination. This alternative strand in Wittgenstein's later remarks on religion is a manifestation of a broader strand of Wittgenstein's later thought as a whole, which was first described by Friedrich Waismann, and later developed by Gordon Baker and Oskari Kuusela. The paper concludes by providing examples of religious beliefs which are logically mixed, indeterminate, and fluid, and showing how simple objects of comparison can be used to illuminate them
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1967). Zettel. Oxford, Blackwell.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1980). Culture and Value. University of Chicago Press.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (2005). The Big Typescript, Ts. 213. Blackwell Pub..
Norman Malcolm (2001). Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir. Clarendon Press.
Citations of this work BETA
N. Verbin (2013). Can God Forgive Our Trespasses? International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (2):181-199.
Similar books and articles
Michael Kober (2006). Wittgenstein and Religion. Grazer Philosophische Studien 71 (1):87-116.
Bob Plant (2004). The Wretchedness of Belief: Wittgenstein on Guilt, Religion, and Recompense. Journal of Religious Ethics 32 (3):449 - 476.
Brian R. Clack (1999). Wittgenstein, Frazer, and Religion. St. Martin's Press.
Mikel Burley (2010). Is There a Tension in Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Religion? Heythrop Journal 51 (6):1000-1010.
Jordan Curnutt (1998). Huang on Wittgenstein on Religious Epistemology. Religious Studies 34 (1):81-89.
John W. Cook (2004). The Undiscovered Wittgenstein: The Twentieth Century's Most Misunderstood Philosopher. Humanity Books.
Bob Plant (2011). Religion, Relativism, and Wittgenstein's Naturalism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (2):177 - 209.
P. F. Bloemendaal (2006). Grammars of Faith: A Critical Evaluation of D.Z. Phillips's Philosophy of Religion. Peeters.
John S. Wilkins & Paul E. Griffiths (forthcoming). Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Three Domains: Fact, Value, and Religion. In James Maclaurin Greg Dawes (ed.), A New Science of Religion. Routledge
Oskari Kuusela (2008). The Struggle Against Dogmatism: Wittgenstein and the Concept of Philosophy. Harvard University Press.
Michael Scott (2000). Wittgenstein and Realism. Faith and Philosophy 17 (2):170-190.
Christopher Hoyt (2007). Wittgenstein and Religious Dogma. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 61 (1):39 - 49.
Duncan Richter (2001). Missing the Entire Point: Wittgenstein and Religion. Religious Studies 37 (2):161-175.
Sami Pihlström (2007). Religion and Pseudo-Religion: An Elusive Boundary. [REVIEW] International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 62 (1):3 - 32.
Added to index2011-12-20
Total downloads34 ( #112,717 of 1,789,998 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #318,432 of 1,789,998 )
How can I increase my downloads?