Wittgensteinian Approaches to Religion

Authored by: Genia Schönbaumsfeld

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9781844658312
eBook ISBN: 9781315719412
Adobe ISBN: 9781317515920


 Download Chapter



The myths surrounding Wittgenstein’s conception of religious belief are tenacious and enduring. In the contemporary literature, for example, Wittgenstein has variously been labelled a fideist (Nielsen and Phillips 2005), a non-cognitivist (Hyman 2001; Schroeder 2007), and a relativist of sorts (Kusch 2011). The underlying motivation for many of these attributions seems to be the thought that the content of a belief can clearly be separated from the attitude taken towards it. Such a ‘factorization model’ which construes religious beliefs as consisting of two independent ‘factors’ – the belief’s content and the belief-attitude – appears to be behind the idea that one could, for example, have the religious attitude alone (fideism, non-cognitivism) or that religious content will remain broadly unaffected by a fundamental change in attitude (Kusch). In the present contribution I will argue that such a model faces insuperable philosophical and exegetical difficulties, and, consequently, that the conceptions that spring from it are mistaken.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.