Münster: Mentis (2014)

Sebastian Gäb
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Two theses are defended: First, that realism is a semantic thesis; second, that religious language ought to be interpreted realistically. The first part from chapter 1 to 4 is concerned with the first thesis, the second part from chapter 5 to 6 with the second. I first give an overview on the subject of realism and antirealism explaining the core problem of the debate that any satisfying interpretation of realism should be able to solve. Then I develop a solution based on Dummetts theory of semantic realism, so that metaphysical problems can be translated into semantic ones. Subsequently I discuss several arguments against this theory and develop my own, improved theory of semantic realism, which is able to resist the critique. Finally, I present and refute two arguments by Dummett intended to show that the semantic interpretation of realism already shows realism to be inconsistent. Having developed these semantic tools, I show how debates in philosophy of religion may be described and classified and how semantic criteria may be used to determine which theory is antirealist and which is not. Finally, I analyse and discuss the arguments in the current debate on religious antirealism and present a few new arguments based on the semantic interpretation of realism, to show the inconsistency of religious antirealism.
Keywords semantic realism  religious language
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