Foundation of Religious Beliefs after Foundationalism: Wittgenstein between Nielsen and Phillips

Religious Studies 31 (2):251 - 267 (1995)
Religious beliefs have often been taken either as absolutely foundational to all others or as ultimately founded on something else. This essay starts with an endorsement of the contemporary critique of foundationalism but sets its task as to search for the foundation(s) of religious belief after foundationalism. In its third and main part, it argues for a Wittgensteinian reflective equilibrium (within a belief system, between believing and acting and among people with different ways of believing and acting) as such a foundation. In this reflective equilibrium, religious beliefs are no more and no less foundational to, or founded by, other beliefs and practices. To appreciate this perspective better, I argue, in the first part, that Kai Neilsen's charge of Wittgenstein as a fideist is not accurate, and, in the second part, that D. Z. Phillips's fideistic contentions are unWittgensteinian.
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