A Schutzian Analysis of Prayer with Perspectives from Linguistic Philosophy

Human Studies 40 (4):543-563 (2017)
Authors
Michael Staudigl
University of Vienna
Abstract
In this paper, we propose to analyze the phenomenon of Christian prayer by way of combining two different analytical frameworks. We start by applying Schutz’s theories of “intersubjectivity,” “inner time,” “politheticality,” and “multiple realities,” and then proceed by drawing on the ideas and insights of linguistic philosophers, notably, Wittgenstein’s “language-game,” Austin’s “speech act,” and Evans’s “logic of self-involvement”. In conjoining these accounts, we wish to demonstrate how their combination sheds new light on understanding the phenomenon of prayer. Prayer is a complex phenomenon that involves two major dimensions: the private and the social, as Matthew and Acts, respectively, demonstrate. Schutz’s study of the phenomenon of “inner time” and the “polithetical” structure of consciousness, at both the subjective and intersubjective level, provides a useful lens to analyze these two dimensions. In addition, prayer, in following a specific set of rules, can also be considered as a specific, i.e., religious “language-game”. In the last analysis, however, we propose to analyze prayer within the Schutzian framework of “multiple realities,” “enclaves,” and “symbolic appresentation,” which permits accessing the “religious finite province of meaning” in the very midst of the paramount reality of everyday life. In a nutshell, we claim that Christian prayer is a practice of constructing and living within a “religious province of meaning” in the everyday world; it is a practice that revolves around self-involving language-activities such as praising, confessing, thanksgiving, or requesting to God, which enable the praying subject to transfigure the language of everydayness and “see through” the world of everyday life in order to let it appear in a different light, e.g., the light of grace, gift, and salvation.
Keywords Schutz  Wittgenstein  Prayer  Christianity  Speech act  Language-game  Multiple realities
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DOI 10.1007/s10746-015-9377-x
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References found in this work BETA

How to Do Things with Words.J. L. Austin - 1966 - Mind 75 (298):262-285.
Philosophical Grammar.Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rush Rhees & Anthony Kenny - 1975 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 8 (4):260-262.

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