Belief, apparitions, and rationality: The social scientific study of religion after Wittgenstein [Book Review]

Human Studies 28 (1):15 - 39 (2005)
The goal I pursue is to redefine the study of religious epistemology on the basis of an ethnomethodological extension of Wittgenstein. This approach shows that the nature of religious belief and its relation to facts, proofs, and empirical reality are matters that are dealt with by ordinary members of society. The examination of this lay epistemology reveals that – far from being a settled and established entity – religious belief is a polymorphous phenomenon. Religious belief is a pragmatic resource whose configuration is shaped to allow the accomplishment of interactional moves within specific contexts. I defend this thesis by analyzing accounts pertaining to a contemporary religious apparition claim.
Keywords apparitions  epistemology  ethnomethodology  interactions  rationality  religious belief  Wittgenstein
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