Simple Objects of Comparison for Complex Grammars: An Alternative Strand in Wittgenstein's Later Remarks on Religion

Philosophical Investigations 35 (1):18-42 (2012)
Abstract
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)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,772
External links
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
Rush Rhees (2001). On Religion. Faith and Philosophy 18 (4):409-415.

View all 15 references

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 (2011). Religion, Relativism, and Wittgenstein's Naturalism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (2):177 - 209.
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.
Sami Pihlström (2007). Religion and Pseudo-Religion: An Elusive Boundary. [REVIEW] International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 62 (1):3 - 32.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-12-20

Total downloads

31 ( #59,026 of 1,099,693 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #64,880 of 1,099,693 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.