Recently, many philosophers of religion have sought to defend the rationality of religious belief by shifting the burden of proof onto the critic of religious belief. Some have appealed to extraordinary religiousexperience in making their case. ReligiousExperience, Justification, and History restores neglected explanatory and historical considerations to the debate. Through a study of William James, it contests the accounts of religiousexperience offered in recent works. Through reflection on the history (...) of philosophy, it also unravels the philosophical use of the term justification. Matthew Bagger argues that the commitment to supernatural explanations implicit in the religious experiences employed to justify religious belief contradicts the modern ideal of human flourishing. (shrink)
The essence of religion was once widely thought to be a unique form of experience that could not be explained in neurological, psychological, or sociological terms. In recent decades scholars have questioned the privileging of the idea of religiousexperience in the study of religion, an approach that effectively isolated the study of religion from the social and natural sciences. ReligiousExperience Reconsidered lays out a framework for research into religious phenomena that reclaims (...) class='Hi'>experience as a central concept while bridging the divide between religious studies and the sciences. Ann Taves shifts the focus from "religiousexperience," conceived as a fixed and stable thing, to an examination of the processes by which people attribute meaning to their experiences. She proposes a new approach that unites the study of religion with fields as diverse as neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, and psychology to better understand how these processes are incorporated into the broader cultural formations we think of as religious or spiritual. Taves addresses a series of key questions: how can we set up studies without obscuring contestations over meaning and value? What is the relationship between experience and consciousness? How can research into consciousness help us access and interpret the experiences of others? Why do people individually or collectively explain their experiences in religious terms? How can we set up studies that allow us to compare experiences across times and cultures? ReligiousExperience Reconsidered demonstrates how methods from the sciences can be combined with those from the humanities to advance a naturalistic understanding of the experiences that people deem religious. (shrink)
This Element looks at religiousexperience and the role it has played in philosophy of religion. It critically explores the history of the intertwined discourses on mysticism and religiousexperience, before turning to a few specific discussions within contemporary philosophy of religion. One debate concerns the question of perennialism vs. constructivism and whether there is a 'common core' to all religious or mystical experience independent of interpretation or socio-historical background. Another central discussion concerns the (...) epistemology of purportedly theophanic experience and whether a perceptual model of religiousexperience can provide evidence or justification for theistic belief. The Element concludes with a discussion of how philosophy of religion can productively widen its treatment of religiousexperience in the service of creating a more inclusive and welcoming discipline. (shrink)
I start from a relatively simple idea: the human being is constantly making a multiple experience of truth (once again, in reference to Gadamer's statement), both scientifical and technical, as well as religious or aesthetic. Still, what is the relationship between those experiences of truth? Can they express somehow, precisely by their multiplicity, a neutral ethos of today's man, or do they manage to take part in a larger and more elevated experience of truth? In the following (...) paper I will try to bring into focus precisely such issues. I return to the meaning given by Gadamer to the experience of truth. Then I make the distinction between the common sense and the proper sense of alternative. The later concerns the correlation - sometimes paradoxical - of different experiences of truth. For instance, the correlation between the technical and the religiousexperience. So one can understand that religiousexperience is above all an experience of human finitude. (shrink)
For many Christians, personal experiences of God provide an important ground or justification for accepting the truth of the gospel. But we are sometimes mistaken about our experiences, and followers of other religions also provide impressive testimonies to support their religious beliefs. This book explores from a philosophical and theological perspective the viability of divine encounters as support for belief in God, arguing that some religious experiences can be accepted as genuine experiences of God and can provide evidence (...) for Christian beliefs. (shrink)
It is commonly supposed that a certain kind of belief is necessary for religiousexperience. Yet it is not clear that this must be so. In this article, I defend the possibility that a subject could have a genuine emotional religiousexperience without thereby necessarily believing that the purported object of her experience corresponds to reality and/or is the cause of her experience. Imaginative engagement, I argue, may evoke emotional religious experiences that may (...) be said to be both genuine and appropriate, despite not necessarily including beliefs of the aforementioned kind.I go on to maintain that such religious engagement is compatible not only with non-belief but also with disbelief. (shrink)
I discuss Alston's theory of religiousexperience and maintain that his argument to the effect that it is rational to suppose that the 'mystical doxastic practice' is epistemically reliable does not stand up to scrutiny. While Alston's transitions from practical to epistemic rationality don't work here, his arguments may be taken to show that, under certain conditions, it is not epistemically irresponsible to trust one's religious experiences.
The enlarging domain of psychiatric intervention is frequently associated with the undue medicalization of unusual experiences. In such a climate, it becomes of utmost importance to carefully choose appropriate candidates for the psychiatric gaze. This suggests a need to draw a distinction between religious experiences (with psychotic form) and pathological psychotic experiences. As Jackson and Fulford (1997) maintain, “spiritual experiences, whether welcome or unwelcome, and whether or not they are psychotic in form, have nothing (directly) to do with medicine. (...) It would be quite wrong, then, to “treat” spiritual psychotic experiences with neuroleptic drugs, just as it is quite wrong to “treat” political .. (shrink)
In this book, Paul K. Moser offers a new approach to religiousexperience and the kind of evidence it provides. Here, he explains the nature of theistic and non-theistic experience in relation to the meaning of human life and its underlying evidence, with special attention given to the perspectives of Tolstoy, Buddha, Confucius, Krishna, Moses, the apostle Paul, and Muhammad. Among the many topics explored in this timely volume are: religiousexperience characterized in a unifying (...) conception; religiousexperience naturalized relative to science; religiousexperience psychologized in merely psychological phenomena; and religiousexperience cognized relative to potential defeaters from evil, divine hiddenness, and religious diversity. Understanding ReligiousExperience will benefit those interested in the nature of religion and can be used in relevant courses in religious studies, philosophy, theology, Biblical studies, and the history of religion. (shrink)
Does religious thinking stand in opposition to postmodernity? Does the existence of God present the ultimate challenge to metaphysics? Strands of continental thought, especially those running from Kant, Husserl, and Heidegger, focus on individual consciousness as the horizon for all meaning and provide modern philosophy of religion with much of its present ferment. In ReligiousExperience and the End of Metaphysics, 11 influential continental philosophers share the conviction that religious thinking cannot afford to disengage from the (...) challenges of modern European philosophy. Together they provide a rich and intriguing set of answers to questions surrounding the meaning of religiousexperience. Topics include subjectivity, selfhood, and rationality; language, community, and ethics; the influence of Jewish and eastern religions on religiousexperience; God as phenomenology; and religion in the postmodern age. These lucid and arresting essays bring together many of the leading voices in the contemporary continental debate on God and religion. (shrink)
The Varieties of ReligiousExperience is not a theological treatise but an inquiry into a ubiquitous feature of the human condition and thus of human nature itself. Its author makes this clear at the outset, claiming competence as a psychologist and promising no more, therefore, than an examination of those “religious propensities of man” which James takes to be “at least as interesting as any other of the facts pertaining to his mental constitution.” The “at least” is (...) clearly ironical for James will argue throughout the work that this aspect of one’s mental constitution is generative of thoughts, sentiments and actions at once new, different, original, and of the greatest consequence. As an enduring feature of our mental constitution, the religious contents are under no special burden of vindication or verification for they are vindicated and verified precisely by their ubiquity and efficacy. This “radical empiricist,” true to the authentic ism, accepts no philosophical a priori that would pass judgment on just which experiences are to count and which are to be rendered otiose. Just in case there are religious thoughts and sentiments widely experienced, abidingly efficacious, central to actually lived lives, it is not for the psychologist to await some “metaphysical” license before including them among subjects of interest. In this independence of inquiry, this openness to realities set before us as indubitable facts of mental life, James records what Louis Dupré discovers in an entire generation of American philosophers. (shrink)
I discuss Richard Swinburne’s account of religiousexperience in his probabilistic case for theism. I argue, pace Swinburne, that even if cosmological considerations render theism not too improbable, religiousexperience does not render it more probable than not.
This article provides a critical examination of a controversial issue that has theoretical and practical importance to a broad range of academic disciplines: Are religious experiences localized within the brain? Research into the neuroscience of religious experiences is reviewed and conceptual and methodological challenges accompanying the neurotheology project of localizing religious experiences within the brain are discussed. An alternative theory to current reductive and mechanistic explanations of observed mind–brain correlations is proposed — a mediation theory of cerebral (...) action — that has the potential for addressing what Chalmers called the “hard problem” of consciousness. (shrink)
Much of the discussion had focussed on the question of whether religious experiences are veridical, but then Richard M. Gale asked a more fundamental question: Are they even cognitive? An experience is cognitive if it takes an intentional accusative, such as “red cube” in “I see a red cube,” as opposed to the cognate accusative exemplified by the use of the word “waltz” in “I am dancing a waltz” which is synonymous with “I am dancing waltzily.” Cognitive experiences (...) are objective in the sense that they purport the existence of an object whose.. (shrink)
Ineffability—that which cannot be explained in words—lies at the heart of the Christian mystical tradition. It has also been part of every discussion of religiousexperience since the early twentieth century. Despite this centrality, ineffability is a concept that has largely been ignored by philosophers of religion. In this book, Bennett-Hunter builds on the recent work of David E. Cooper, who argues that the meaning of life can only be understood in terms of an ineffable source on which (...) life depends, and engages with the work of continental philosophers, such as Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Karl Jaspers. This is the first book to explore the concept of ineffability within contemporary philosophy of religion and provides a starting point for further scholarly debate. It will be of interest to scholars of philosophy of religion, theology, existentialism and phenomenology. -/- 'Bennett Hunter’s book is a timely contribution to the growing theological and philosophical literature on mystery and ineffability. Written in a lucid and elegant style, the book makes a convincing case for the ineffability of religiousexperience and explores its relationship to a sense that our lives are answerable to such experience.' — David E. Cooper. -/- 'Philosophers have long concentrated on linguistic forms in a way that has isolated language from the rest of life, and this isolation has increasingly obscured for them the vast range of things that cannot be spoken. Bennett-Hunter is not the first philosopher to try and map this distracted field, but he is remarkable in the width and sympathy of his approach to the highly various thinkers whom he invokes to illuminate it.' — Mary Midgley. (shrink)
This paper aims to contribute to a defense of the now quite familiar argument from the perceptual model of religiousexperience to the rationality of beliefs formed on the basis of religiousexperience. The contribution will not, however, come in the form of a positive argument for PMR. Neither will this contribution take the form of a response to key objections to the plausibility of that model. Instead, I wish to argue that there is a widespread (...) assumption about the role of concepts in perceptual experience generally which, when assimilated by PMR, complicates the attempt to respond to the most serious objection to the argument from PMR to the rationality of religious belief—viz. the objection from conflicting religious claims. Again, this paper will not respond to the objection from conflicting religious claims. Rather, it will explain how a common assumption makes that problem worse and it will offer a positive suggestion about how to avoid that common assumption. Of course, to have shown how not to make a problem worse is not yet to have solved the problem. But, if the argument of this paper succeeds, it is a crucial first step.In what follows, I will very briefly summarize the role of PMR in an argument for the rationality of religious belief, state the problem of conflicting religious claims, explain how a widespread assumption about the role of concepts in perceptual experience exacerbates the problem and offer the beginningsof an alternative account of the role of concepts in perceptual experience and comment on the evidential force of religiousexperience construed along the lines of this alternative account. Of course, an adequate treatment of the points in would require far more attention than can be devoted to them here. The primary burden of this paper is to establish the critical point in, i.e., to generate some dissatisfaction with the “widespread assumption,” and to use this dissatisfaction as a motivation for exploring an alternative account of conceptual contribution. (shrink)
THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF EXPERIENCE, each with a distinctive grain. In each of them we can discern something peripheral and focal, the mine and the not-mine, the private and the public, the episodic and the constant. Each answers to different sides of our separated and interrelated selves. Aesthetic experience is qualitatively toned, and encountered through the agency of emotions, partly mediated through the senses. Undergone in privacy it has a distinctive texture; sometimes it has a different one (...) when undergone by a number of men together. In secular experience we confront rather conspicuous steady regions through the agency of organically defined bodily reactions, appetites and needs. It is normally shared with others in fact or in prospect, and when privately undergone it continues to bear the marks of what it exhibited to men together. Ethical experience encompasses values sensed through the help of our attitudes and beliefs. The experience here is usually individual, but small groups of men sometimes have the experience together more or less in the way they had it privately. Religiousexperience, which has features, when private, that are distinct from those it has when public, brings us into relation with a felt power that assesses what we are and have attained. (shrink)
In this, his first book, originally published in 1926, Henry Nelson Wieman sets forth a view on the relationship of religiousexperience and scientific method which in substance he has maintained ever since. According to Wieman, our knowledge of the concrete world consists of immediate sensuous experience as interpreted through some set of concepts. Religiousexperience is the richest form of immediate sensuous experience. It is our awareness of God, who is as much an (...) object of experience as are tree and hill and stone. And scientific method is the systematic procedure by which the conceptual network for interpreting immediate sensuous experience is clarified and corrected, with the experience-concept compound thus becoming "science." Religiousexperience, therefore, receives its most adequate interpretation in science; while science, in turn, receives its most stimulating input from religiousexperience. In principle, the highest of the individual sciences is theology; in fact, however, the very complexity of religiousexperience and the difficulty of distinguishing it clearly from other types of immediate sensuous experience have prevented more than merely minimal progress in achieving a truly scientific theology. On the whole our ideas about God are marked by confusion and controversy, therefore, despite the fact that some of these notions probably are true. Wieman’s book serves as an excellent example of the liberal thought which dominated much of theology and philosophy-of-religion during the last part of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth. The religious thinker with a liberal perspective conceives his primary challenge as developing a scientifically acceptable interpretation of religiousexperience, taking that experience itself as being obvious and almost universally recognized. One need not be particularly well read to know that current judgments regarding the obviousness of religiousexperience are hardly so sanguine, however, and that the religious thinker typical of our own age therefore conceives his primary challenge quite differently.—J. M. V. (shrink)
After completing his monumental work, The Principles of Psychology, William James turned his attention to serious consideration of such important religious and philosophical questions as the nature and existence of God, immortality of the soul, and free will and determinism. His interest in these questions found expression in various works, including The Varieties of ReligiousExperience, his classic study of spirituality. Based on the prestigious Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion he gave at the University of Edinburgh in (...) 1901 and 1902, the book--studded with richly concrete examples--documents and discusses various religious states of consciousness and covers such topics as the meaning of the term "divine," the reality of the unseen, the religion of healthy-mindedness, the sick soul, the divided self and the process of its unification, conversion, saintliness, and mysticism. One of the author's most popular works, The Varieties of ReligiousExperience remains one of the great books on the subject, especially noteworthy for the evidence it gives for religiousexperience as a unique phenomenon. This Dover edition will be the least expensive one in print. Unabridged republication of the second edition of The Varieties of ReligiousExperience: A Study in Human Nature, originally published by Longmans, Green and Co., New York, 1902. Index. (shrink)
Hume’s destructive account of miracles has been thought by many to exclude the possibility of rationally accepting testimony to supernatural events. Here I argue that even if one grants that his argument works with respect to testimony about miracles, it does not succeed in showing that all testimony to the supernatural is inadmissible, since room is left open for religious experiences, especially those of an intersubjective kind, to function as evidence. If this is so, there is new reason to (...) think that his exclusion of miracle claims might be unwarranted. (shrink)
Taking a new look at the language of ‘religiousexperience’, the authors in this contribution take into review this aspect in the current theological discussion, and in the church pew, asking the question: Does George Lindbeck’s criticism of the experiential-expressive model of religion still have something to say to us? Firstly, Lindbeck is reviewed and recouped. Then, religiousexperience and its commodification are discussed, at the hand also of the heritage from Schleiermacher onwards on experience. (...) Taking a position within the post-modern, relativist, critical realist and pragmatist possibilities, a community-embedded sense of truth is concluded to without sacrificing the possibility of universalising claims. Is it possible, though, within the cultural reflex towards psychologised faith to retain a historically oriented depth? (shrink)
William Alston proposed an understanding of religiousexperience modeled after the triadic structure of sense perception. However, a perceptual model falters because of the unobservability of God as the object of religiousexperience. To reshape Alston’s model of religiousexperience as an observational practice we utilize Dudley Shapere’s distinction between the philosophical use of ‘observe’ in terms of sensory perception and scientists’ epistemic use of ‘observe’ as being evidential by providing information or justification leading (...) to knowledge. This distinction helps us to understand how religiousexperience of an unobservable God can be an epistemic practice that satisfies our epistemic obligations and justifies religious belief. (shrink)
Se percibe en el mundo académico de la teología y de la praxis pastoral, un giro general y englobante hacia el sujeto, la experiencia, la donación del amor, la misericordia, el mundo vivido de los hombres y la vivencia de la fe en la vida cotidiana de un mundo secularizado. Es un anhelo de salir de la simple conceptualización y de las discusiones sin fin sobre la fe, para dar paso a una vivencia y a una experiencia de lo creído (...) y a un testimonio que lo haga creíble. La revolución que ha propiciado el papa Francisco se fundamenta en una radicalidad del seguimiento de Jesús en la vida diaria, en las cosas sencillas, sin muchos malabares teológicos, y sí con una insistencia grande en el amor misericordioso de Dios. Este artículo quiere presentar algunas reflexiones que ayuden a fundamentar la donación experiencial del amor misericordioso, preguntándose por la experiencia, el lenguaje usado para expresarla y la libertad como respuesta del sujeto llamado en el momento del evento. (shrink)
Accession Number: ATLA0001788492; Hosting Book Page Citation: p 200-214.; Language(s): English; Issued by ATLA: 20130825; Publication Type: Essay; Related Books/Electronic Resources: 9780713997897; 067003472X; 9780670034727; By: Dennett, Daniel C Breaking the spell 464 p. Publisher: New York : Viking ; London : Allen Lane (Penguin Books), 2006. ATLA0001508292.