Our Book Review Editor, James Keller, invited William Hasker to write a review of the Book by D.Z. Phillips, The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God and then in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief invited Phillips to respond. Aware of both their respect for each other and their philosophical differences we planned that Hasker’s review and Phillips’ response would appear in the same issue of the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. Unfortunately that was not to be. Dewi, as (...) he was known to his many friends throughout the world, collapsed at his desk on 25 July, 2006 in the library of his beloved University of Wales, Swansea. Although we were not able to have the review and response appear in the same issue as we had all planned, we are now printing his response to Hasker’s review, “D.Z. Phillips’s Problems with Evil and with God,” which appeared in IJPR, Vol. 61,3. Dewi had completed the review and thanks to the efforts of Helen Baldwin who prepared the manuscript and Dewi’s wife, Monica, and family we are able to print it here. Since Dewi was responding to an earlier version of Hasker’s review, a few minor editorial changes have been made. Dewi’s death is a great loss to the philosophical community and a deep personal loss to his family and friends, but I am confident that he would be pleased to have this response appear. He might even have a story to tell, a comment that those who knew him well will fully understand. Eugene Thomas Long. (shrink)
God is said to be Spirit, but the language of spirit is ignored in contemporary philosophy of religion. As well as exploring the notion of spirit in Hegel, Romanticism and Kierkegaard, participants explore the view that God is a spirit without a body, and the relations between "spirit" and "truth.".
This paper takes issue with remarks by Brian Clack on the manner in which Wittgensteinian philosophers have interpreted religion. Clack attributes an expressivist interpretation of religion to Wittgensteinians. By reference to my own writings, and to those of Rush Rhees, I show how wide of the mark is this gloss on the Wittgensteinian tradition's approach to religion. In particular, the view that magico-religious rituals are cathartic is demonstrated to be one that Wittgensteinians have been keen to attack, rather than defend. (...) The conclusion of the paper emphasizes the point that Wittgenstein and Wittgensteinians have been concerned with denying the appropriateness of producing a general theory of religion or magic. Hence, they have no need of an expressive theory. (shrink)
Philosophical romanticism is the view that, in maintaining out forms of life, we are engaged in the endless task of “acknowledging the human” in reading and being read by others. Winch's discussions of “human nature” and the principle of universalizability in ethics should discourage us from imputing such romanticism to his work. On the other hand, his discussions of generality in “the human” and the human neighbourhood might tempt one to do so. Winch's contemplative conception of philosophy should, in the (...) end, count against this temptation. His work is a passionate example of doing conceptual justice to different readings of “the human”. (shrink)
Remarkable in the range that it covers, The Possibilities of Sense testifies to an equally remarkable philosopher. In essays on ethics and thephilosophy of religion, on literature and education, the contributors displaynot only the breadth of D.Z. Phillips's work but also its power. This powercomes largely from Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose significance as a moral and religious philosopher rivals his reputation as a philosopher of language.
Leading philosopher of religion D. Z. Phillips argues that intellectuals need not see their task as being for or against religion, but as one of understanding it. What stands in the way of this task are certain methodological assumptions about what enquiry into religion must be. Beginning with Bernard Williams on Greek gods, Phillips goes on to examine these assumptions in the work of Hume, Feuerbach, Marx, Frazer, Tylor, Marett, Freud, Durkheim, Le;vy-Bruhl, Berger and Winch. The result exposes confusion, but (...) also gives logical space to religious belief without advocating personal acceptance of that belief, and shows how the academic study of religion may return to the contemplative task of doing conceptual justice to the world. Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation extends in important ways D. Z. Phillips' seminal 1976 book Religion Without Explanation. It will be of interest to scholars and students of philosophy, anthropology, sociology and theology. (shrink)
This book offers the rare opportunity to assess, within a single volume, the leading schools of thought in the contemporary philosophy of religion. With contributions by well-known exponents of each school, the book is an ideal text for assessing the deep proximities and divisions which characterize contemporary philosophy of religion. The schools of thought represented include philosophical theism, Reformed epistemology, Wittgensteinianism, Postmodernism, Critical Theory, and Process Thought.
This collection of essays argues that we need to recover concepts from the distortions of philosophy. The author shows the disastrous consequences for an understanding of religion of the epistemic divide which can be found in contemporary philosophy of religion: divides between belief and practice, the world and God, religious experience and religious contexts. By closing these divides, religious significance is given its proper place.
The contributions of leading Kantian and Kierkegaardian scholars to this collection break down to the simplistic contrast in which Kant is seen as the advocate of a rational moral theology and Kierkegaard as the advocate of an irrationalist faith. This collection is an ideal text for discussion of central issues.
Whether one agrees with him or not, there is no avoiding the challenge of Hume for contemporary philosophy of religion. The symposia in this stimulating collection reveal why, whether the discussions concern Hume on metaphysics and religion, "true religion," religion and ethics, religion and superstition, or miracles. For some, Hume's criticisms of religion cannot withstand them, while others claim that Hume can be answered on his own terms. All responses to Hume determine the style and spirit in which one pursues (...) philosophy of religion today. (shrink)
What can transcendence mean for us? We live in a world in which there are many conceptions of transcendence. Some philosophers say that they all point, in their way, to a transcendent realm, without which death and life's sorrows have the last word, while their opponents argue that since this realm is an illusion, we must use our own resources to meet life's trials. Others argue that moral and religious concepts of transcendence are obscured by philosophical notions of transcendence, and (...) must be rescued from them. These conflicting views on a central issue in our culture are brought into sharp relief in the present collection. (shrink)
Reflection on religion inevitably involves consideration of its relation to morality. When great evil is done to human beings, we may feel that something absolute has been violated. Can that sense, which is related to gratitude for existence, be expressed without religious concepts? Can we express central religious concerns, such as losing the self, while abandoning any religious metaphysic? Is moral obligation itself dependent on divine commands if it is to be objective, or is morality not only independent of religion, (...) but its accuser if God is said to allow horrendous evils? In any case, what happens to the absolute claims of religion in what is, undeniably, a morally pluralistic world? These are the central questions discussed by philosophers of religion and moral philosophers in this collection. They do so in ways which bring new aspects to bear on these traditional issues. (shrink)
Many analyses of belief in the soul ignore the soul in the words. Dislocations of concepts occur when words are divorced from their normal implications. The 'soul' is sometimes the dislocated utterer of such words. Pictures, including pictures of the soul leaving the body, may mislead us by suggesting applications which they, in fact, do not have. But pictures of the soul may enter people's lives as desires for a temporal eternity. Contrasting conceptions of immortality and eternal life depend on (...) a willingness to say farewell to life. Atheistic denials of temporal eternities, do not appreciate these other possibilities. (shrink)
St. Teresa worried over the genuineness of her mystical experience. Her worries have sense within a form of life. Pike argues that her claims must be downgraded if no justification of the form of life can be given. The Devil could deceive us about any justification, Mavrodes argues, but certain experiences can be self-authenticating. Treating forms of life as though they were interpretations, Katz concludes that we must be agnostic about their truth. The paper argues that confusions between forms of (...) life and judgements within them lead these authors to conclusions which obscure the confessional character of truth in these contexts. (shrink)
An examination is offered of the claim that the possibility of religious belief is related to the possibility of lusus naturae, in the special sense of that phrase which many philosophers have adopted, in terms of its implications for the notion of the limits of intelligibility. The exposition includes a critical assessment of arguments offered by Peter Winch, R. F. Holland, Norman Malcolm, and H. O. Mounce.
In a brilliant series of essays, the distinguished philosopher D. Z. Phillips explores the alternatives for faith after foundationalism. A significant exploration of post-foundationalist thought in its own right, Faith After Foundationalism is also an important evaluation and critique of the theological implications of the views of Alvin Plantinga, Richard Rorty, George Lindbeck, and Peter Berger.Phillips’s own position is that one must resist the philosopher’s tendency to turn religious mystery into epistemological mystery. To understand how religious concepts are formed is (...) to understand that to speak of God as “beyond mortal telling” is not to confess a failure of language. God’s hiddenness is part of our concept of him—a reflection of the mystery of human life as it is lived. Faith After Foundationalism will be essential reading for philosophers of religion and theologians, as well as for students of contemporary epistemology. (shrink)