The flood of interpretive work regarding Wittgenstein’s thinking on matters religious shows little sign of abating. At the same time, one may feel that little that is new or illuminating is being added to these discussions: what is known as ‘Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion’ may appear to be at a standstill. There is thus a great deal to be said for Thomas Carroll’s contention that it is ‘time for a reassessment of Wittgenstein and philosophy of religion’ , though a reader (...) may ultimately be left with the conclusion that Carroll’s book does not quite provide the reassessment that is required.The first three chapters of the book explore Wittgenstein’s work and its reception within the philosophy of religion. Firstly, Carroll outlines the range of sources drawn upon by those working on Wittgenstein and religion: Wittgenstein’s texts explicitly focused on religious phenomena (such as the ‘Lectures on Religious Belief’ and the ‘Remarks on Frazer’s .. (shrink)
In the first full-length analysis of Wittgenstein's Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough, Brian R. Clack presents a fresh and innovative interpretation of Wittgenstein's conception of religion. While previous commentators have tended to sideline the Remarks on Frazer, Clack shows how the key to Wittgenstein's thought on religion lies in these remarks on primitive magico-religious observances. This book shows that Wittgenstein neither embraces expressivism, as it is generally assumed, nor straightforwardly denies instrumentalism. Focusing instead on Wittgenstein's suggestion that magic is somehow (...) akin to metaphysics, a view of ritual as the spontaneous expression of human beings is presented. (shrink)
In this response to D. Z. Phillips's critique of my interpretation of Wittgenstein's view of magic and ritual, I counter Phillips's claim that I have misrepresented the Wittgensteinian view of ritual, consider the instrumentalist dimension of the Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough, offer some objections to Phillips's expressivist view that a ritual ‘says itself’, and detect obscurantism in his approach to the study of religion.
The first publication of Beverley Clack and Brian R. Clack’s exciting and innovative introduction to the philosophy of religion has been of enormous value to students, as well as providing a bold and refreshing alternative to the standard analytic approaches to the subject. This second edition retains the accessibility which made it popular for both teachers and students, while furthering its distinctive argument that emphasises the human dimension of religion. The text has been fully revised and updated. The traditional emphasis (...) on the arguments for the existence of God is reflected in a newly extended and reworked investigation into natural theology. Recent developments in the subject are also reflected in updated chapters, and, in a move that highlights the originality of the authors’ approach, they offer a critical engagement with current world events. An entirely new concluding chapter interrogates the connection between religion and terror, and demonstrates how philosophy of religion might be conducted under the terrible shadow of 9/11. This new edition of _The Philosophy of Religion_ will continue to be essential reading for all students and practitioners of the subject. (shrink)
This exciting textbook combines a clear introduction to the themes traditionally covered in the philosophy of religion with contemporary developments in the discipline. The combination of traditional and alternative approaches makes it the most innovative introduction to the area currently available, while a range of exercises and student features provide a lively and accessible approach to the discipline. Most introductions to the philosophy of religion turn out, in practice, to be philosophic defences of religious belief, concentrating solely on the theistic (...) tradition. This book differs from such an approach by offering a range of alternative views and in particular by examining the human dimension of religion and religious belief. Thus alongside helpful clarifications of such traditional issues as arguments of the existence of God, the problem of evil, and immortality, this book also addresses more neglected areas like natural histories of religion, feminist approaches, and revisionary accounts of religious belief. The book ends with reflections on the future of religion. _The Philosophy of Religion_ will be essential reading for all students of the subject as well as the interested lay reader. (shrink)