The Concept of Worldview in Contemporary Philosophy of Religion

Dissertation, University of Colorado at Boulder (2001)

Rob Lovering
College of Staten Island (CUNY)
The concept of worldview has become popular in recent years, particularly among philosophers of religion associated with Christian theism. Indeed, one might say that the resurgence of the concept's popularity is largely a product of Christian theistic philosophical literature. These philosophers -- "Worldview Advocates," as I refer to them -- employ the concept of worldview in order to compare and contrast various worldviews in an attempt to provide objective justification for the Christian theistic worldview. In this dissertation, I argue that Worldview Advocates need the concept of worldview in order to serve as a nexus term between their religious regulative beliefs and the non-religious regulative beliefs of science. This allows them to take on scientific theories and results without having to do so directly. However, with their employment of the concept of worldview, Worldview Advocates inadvertently generate a problem for themselves. Specifically, as presented, their descriptions and analyses of the concept of worldview entail incompatible positions: conceptual absolutism and conceptual relativism. Accordingly, I argue that Worldview Advocates must either embrace conceptual absolutism, thereby granting that there are worldview-independent standards in terms of which the comparing and contrasting of worldviews can be carried out. Or they must embrace conceptual relativism, thereby discarding the project of comparing and contrasting worldviews and, with it, their original project of attempting to provide objective justification for the Christian theistic worldview.
Keywords Christian theism  worldview  naturalism  conceptual relativism  conceptual absolutism
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