The Debate over "Wittgensteinian Fideism" and Phillips’ Contemplative Philosophy of Religion

In Ingolf U. Dalferth Hartmut von Sass (ed.), The Contemplative Spirit. D.Z. Phillips on Religion and the Limits of Philosophy. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. pp. 99-114 (2010)

Abstract

When surveying the scholarly literature over Wittgensteinian fideism, it is easy to get the sense that the principal interlocutors, Kai Nielsen and D.Z. Phillips, talk past one another, but finding the right words for appraising the distance between the two voices is difficult. In this paper, I seek to appreciate this intellectual distance through an exploration of the varying philosophical aims of Nielsen and Phillips, of the different intellectual imperatives that guide their respective conceptions of philosophical practice. In so doing, I seek to show how a contemplative mode in philosophy may be used to appraise a philosophical dispute and the terms of disagreement. In this case, a contemplative approach to understanding the dispute would frame Nielsen’s and Phillips’ contributions against the backdrop of the ends they conceive philosophy to have.

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Thomas D. Carroll
Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen)

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