RE language - logical positivism and wittgenstein Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in RE language - logical positivism and wittgenstein Deck (40)
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wittgenstein devleopment, phillips

D. Z. Phillips – developed W’s ideas
♣ RE lang is about defining and understanding the rules of the religion game, can never be meaningless
♣ ‘God is love’ does not mean there literally is a being called God, but shows one of the ways in which the word can be used in the RE lang game
♣ RE lang is meaningful for those who use it, no need to be explained for those outside the game
♣ Concepts like sin etc. don’t make sense outside RE context
Scientific positivists (like Dawkins) are committing the error of applying the rules of one language game to terms from another.


wittgenstein negatives

- guilty of fideism, all that is necessary is faith. could accept talk about witches and fairies
♣ How can we have inter-disciplinary dialogues if everyone is playing their own language games?
♣ Any belief can hide behind the defence of saying ‘this is my language game’, can hide in it.
♣ Is there a specific language game for religions, denominations, traditions? If the boundaries aren’t knowable, how do we know whether we are communicating with someone in our game or outside of it?
o W might respond that boundaries can be learnt just as you can learn train controls
♣ Neo-W approaches (like Phillips) have argued that language cannot be understood as reality depicting. Language is meaningful within game but does not reflect state of affairs. Phillips seems to make all language use, and reality itself, purely relative.
♣ If God talk is meaningful within its language game, is all metaphysical talk meaningful? E.g. fairies, goblins. Doesn’t matter if they don’t exist, can still talk about them within language game.
♣ Non-believers who don’t play RE lang game can still be equipped to understand and critique RE lang and don’t have the subjective attachment to it, can be objective.


weak verification

A ‘putative proposition’ is the name Ayer gives to statements yet to be verified. A putative statement is either verifiable practically or in principle. For instance, a statement such as “that is a red car” is verifiable in practice by looking at the car. However, a statement such as “There is life in another universe” is verifiable in principle but not in practice as we possess insufficient technology. Thus, Ayer then makes distinctions between strong and weak verification. Strong verification refers to any statement that can be verified as true beyond any doubts through sense experience, and a weakly verifiable proposition is most probable. Again, in terms of religious language, although Ayer acknowledges its emotive value, he denied that religious language was more than this, hence it was a pseudo-proposition.


- brummer on ayer

it is wrong to treat RE statements as if they were scientific statements, error of understanding
(- Dawkins, they are failed scientific sentences)

emmet agrees with brummer. claims of natural theology are analogies, not scientific accounts


- Swinburne on ayer

some statements which are not verifiable can still have meaning
e.g. toys come to life


cupitt on wittgenstein

advocates theological non-realism, non cog
does not assert objective existence of god (theological realism) but the meaning of god in peoples lives
only meaning of god we have is within community of belief and its significance in our lives


similarities/differences between analogy and wittgenstein

both are being used in a particular way, no one right use

cog vs non cog

both interested in how language is used: game vs. attribution

difference: analogy takes language as given, we can talk about god analogically. vs. witgeinstein it is the use of language which make thought and activity, it is their precondition

difference: analogy is concerned particularly with god, witttgeinstein is not specifically dealing with religion.


Wittgenstein nd RE lang

some statements are ungrounded - unsupported
yet they shape the way we understand the world
e.g. heaven is groundless but still has meanign
even more meaningful as you become more immersed into Xian community


Criticisms of logical psiivism

If we adopt it we commit ourselves to a form of foundationalism. Some ideas are self evidently true


Criticisms of logical psiivism

If we adopt it we commit ourselves to a form of foundationalism. Some ideas are self evidently true