Leading philosopher of religion D. Z. Phillips argues that intellectuals need not see their task as being for or against religion, but as one of understanding it. What stands in the way of this task are certain methodological assumptions about what enquiry into religion must be. Beginning with Bernard Williams on Greek gods, Phillips goes on to examine these assumptions in the work of Hume, Feuerbach, Marx, Frazer, Tylor, Marett, Freud, Durkheim, Le;vy-Bruhl, Berger and Winch. The result exposes confusion, but (...) also gives logical space to religious belief without advocating personal acceptance of that belief, and shows how the academic study of religion may return to the contemplative task of doing conceptual justice to the world. Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation extends in important ways D. Z. Phillips' seminal 1976 book Religion Without Explanation. It will be of interest to scholars and students of philosophy, anthropology, sociology and theology. (shrink)
The concern of this book is the nature of religious belief and the ways in which philosophical enquiry is related to it. Six chapters present the positive arguments the author wishes to put forward to discusses religion and rationality, scepticism about religion, language-games, belief and the loss of belief. The remaining chapters include criticisms of some contemporary philosophers of religion in the light of the earlier discussions, and the implications for more specific topics, such as religious education, are investigated. The (...) book ends with a general attempt to say something about the character of philosophical enquiry, and to show how important it is to realise this character in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
This paper takes issue with remarks by Brian Clack on the manner in which Wittgensteinian philosophers have interpreted religion. Clack attributes an expressivist interpretation of religion to Wittgensteinians. By reference to my own writings, and to those of Rush Rhees, I show how wide of the mark is this gloss on the Wittgensteinian tradition's approach to religion. In particular, the view that magico-religious rituals are cathartic is demonstrated to be one that Wittgensteinians have been keen to attack, rather than defend. (...) The conclusion of the paper emphasizes the point that Wittgenstein and Wittgensteinians have been concerned with denying the appropriateness of producing a general theory of religion or magic. Hence, they have no need of an expressive theory. (shrink)
This collection of essays argues that we need to recover concepts from the distortions of philosophy. The author shows the disastrous consequences for an understanding of religion of the epistemic divide which can be found in contemporary philosophy of religion: divides between belief and practice, the world and God, religious experience and religious contexts. By closing these divides, religious significance is given its proper place.
Many contemporary philosophers assume that, before one can discuss prayer, the question of whether there is a God or not must be settled. In this title, first published in 1965, D. Z. Phillips argues that to understand prayer is to understand what is meant by the reality of God. Beginning by placing the problem of prayer within a philosophical context, Phillips goes on to discuss such topics as prayer and the concept of talking, prayer and dependence, superstition and the concept (...) of community. This is a fascinating reissue that will be of particular value to students with an interest in the philosophy of religion, prayer and religious studies more generally. (shrink)
This book contains essays, written between 1965 and 1990, which focus on the need to explore such issues as the nature of moral endeavor, the request for a justification of moral endeavor; the appeal to human flourishing; the nature of the ...
Reflection on religion inevitably involves consideration of its relation to morality. When great evil is done to human beings, we may feel that something absolute has been violated. Can that sense, which is related to gratitude for existence, be expressed without religious concepts? Can we express central religious concerns, such as losing the self, while abandoning any religious metaphysic? Is moral obligation itself dependent on divine commands if it is to be objective, or is morality not only independent of religion, (...) but its accuser if God is said to allow horrendous evils? In any case, what happens to the absolute claims of religion in what is, undeniably, a morally pluralistic world? These are the central questions discussed by philosophers of religion and moral philosophers in this collection. They do so in ways which bring new aspects to bear on these traditional issues. (shrink)
Our Book Review Editor, James Keller, invited William Hasker to write a review of the Book by D.Z. Phillips, The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God and then in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief invited Phillips to respond. Aware of both their respect for each other and their philosophical differences we planned that Hasker’s review and Phillips’ response would appear in the same issue of the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. Unfortunately that was not to be. Dewi, as (...) he was known to his many friends throughout the world, collapsed at his desk on 25 July, 2006 in the library of his beloved University of Wales, Swansea. Although we were not able to have the review and response appear in the same issue as we had all planned, we are now printing his response to Hasker’s review, “D.Z. Phillips’s Problems with Evil and with God,” which appeared in IJPR, Vol. 61,3. Dewi had completed the review and thanks to the efforts of Helen Baldwin who prepared the manuscript and Dewi’s wife, Monica, and family we are able to print it here. Since Dewi was responding to an earlier version of Hasker’s review, a few minor editorial changes have been made. Dewi’s death is a great loss to the philosophical community and a deep personal loss to his family and friends, but I am confident that he would be pleased to have this response appear. He might even have a story to tell, a comment that those who knew him well will fully understand. Eugene Thomas Long. (shrink)
God is said to be Spirit, but the language of spirit is ignored in contemporary philosophy of religion. As well as exploring the notion of spirit in Hegel, Romanticism and Kierkegaard, participants explore the view that God is a spirit without a body, and the relations between "spirit" and "truth.".
Our Book Review Editor, James Keller, invited William Hasker to write a review of the Book by D. Z. Phillips, "The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God" and then in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief invited Phillips to respond. Aware of both their respect for each other and their philosophical differences we planned that Hasker's review and Phillips' response would appear in the same issue of the "International Journal for Philosophy of Religion." Unfortunately that was not to be. Dewi, (...) as he was known to his many friends throughout the world, collapsed at his desk on 25 July, 2006 in the library of his beloved University of Wales, Swansea. Although we were not able to have the review and response appear in the same issue as we had all planned, we are now printing his response to Hasker's review, "D. Z. Phillips's Problems with Evil and with God," which appeared in IJPR, Vol. 61,3. Dewi had completed the review and thanks to the efforts of Helen Baldwin who prepared the manuscript and Dewi's wife, Monica, and family we are able to print it here. Since Dewi was responding to an earlier version of Hasker's review, a few minor editorial changes have been made. Dewi's death is a great loss to the philosophical community and a deep personal loss to his family and friends, but I am confident that he would be pleassed to have this response appear. He might even have a story to tell, a comment that those who knew him well will fully understand. Eugene Thomas Long. (shrink)
Remarkable in the range that it covers, The Possibilities of Sense testifies to an equally remarkable philosopher. In essays on ethics and thephilosophy of religion, on literature and education, the contributors displaynot only the breadth of D.Z. Phillips's work but also its power. This powercomes largely from Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose significance as a moral and religious philosopher rivals his reputation as a philosopher of language.
This book offers the rare opportunity to assess, within a single volume, the leading schools of thought in the contemporary philosophy of religion. With contributions by well-known exponents of each school, the book is an ideal text for assessing the deep proximities and divisions which characterize contemporary philosophy of religion. The schools of thought represented include philosophical theism, Reformed epistemology, Wittgensteinianism, Postmodernism, Critical Theory, and Process Thought.
I: Winch’s emphasis on philosophy’s concern with language and on rule-following; II: Winch’s misgivings about limits of analogy between rules and language; III: Rhees’ comparison of the unity of discourse with conversation, and claim that language makes sense if living makes sense; IV: Winch’s later emphasis on the fragility of conditions for understanding both between cultures and within our own.
Many analyses of belief in the soul ignore the soul in the words. Dislocations of concepts occur when words are divorced from their normal implications. The 'soul' is sometimes the dislocated utterer of such words. Pictures, including pictures of the soul leaving the body, may mislead us by suggesting applications which they, in fact, do not have. But pictures of the soul may enter people's lives as desires for a temporal eternity. Contrasting conceptions of immortality and eternal life depend on (...) a willingness to say farewell to life. Atheistic denials of temporal eternities, do not appreciate these other possibilities. (shrink)
What is one to make of Sartre's treatment of his waiter in one of his famous analyses of bad faith? The example is supposed to be an obvious one, but the more we examine it, the less obvious it becomes. Let us remind ourselves of Sartre's example: Let us consider this waiter in the café. His movement is quick and forward, a little too precise, a little too rapid. He comes toward the patrons with a step a little too quick. (...) He bends forward a little too eagerly; his voice, his eyes express an interest a little too solicitous for the order of the customer. Finally there he returns, trying to imitate in his walk the inflexible stiffness of some kind of automaton while carrying his tray with a recklessness of a tight-rope walker by putting it in a perpetually unstable, perpetually broken equilibrium which he perpetually re-establishes by a light movement of the arm and hand. (shrink)
Written specifically with beginning undergraduates with little or no previous knowledge of the subject in mind, this is a distinctive and thoughtful introduction to the main problems of philosophy structured around a philosophical argument which is clearly and carefully developed throughout the book.