The Problem of Relevance and the Future of Philosophy of Religion

Metaphilosophy 47 (1):39-58 (2016)

Thomas D. Carroll
Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen)
Despite the growth in research in philosophy of religion over the past several decades, recent years have seen a number of critical studies of this subfield in an effort to redirect the methods and topics of inquiry. This article argues that in addition to problems of religious parochialism described by critics such as Wesley Wildman, the subfield is facing a problem of relevance. In responding to this problem, it suggests that philosophers of religion should do three things: first, be critically self-aware about their aims of inquiry; second, investigate concepts used by other philosophers, scientists, and religious studies scholars to identify and dispel confusion about religions; and third, following the model of applied ethics, work to clarify concepts and advance arguments of contemporary practical urgency
Keywords religious studies  philosophy of religion  higher education  applied philosophy  metaphilosophy  relevance
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DOI 10.1111/meta.12168
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