Religious Language A2

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  • Created by: B.S
  • Created on: 05-01-15 15:21
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  • Religious language
    • Vienna Circle
      • the group of philosophers who gave rise to the logical positivist movement
      • made up of logical positivists
        • believe some statements are true others arent
      • verification principle
        • a statement is only meaningful if it can be verified by actual experience or tautology
      • difficulties with the principle
        • suggests we cant make statements about history due to no observers
        • scientific laws are meaningless
        • universal statements cannot be verified
        • any statement about work of arts is nonsence
    • A.J Ayer - weak verification principle
      • language, truth and logic
        • he accepts a priori and a posteriori division
        • wishes to follow on from Hume and thinkers of the Vienna circle
        • Ayer argues that to be meaningful a statement must be a tautology or verifiable in principle
      • don't have to directly observe something for it to be true
        • Needs to be verifiable in principle
        • need to be able to suggest how it could possibly be verified
      • where he differs to Vienna circle
        • having to directly experience things makes it limiting
        • Ayers principle is classed as weak principle
        • statements may be meaningful if there is a possibility they can be proven in the future
        • history, science and emotions are meaningful in Ayers principle
      • criticisms of Ayer
        • it in itself is unverifiable
        • number of religious statements are verifiable in principle
        • eschatology verification?
    • Falsification principle
      • aims to improve upon limited verification principle
        • a principle for assessing whether statements are genuine scientific assertions by considering whether any evidence could disprove them
      • Stu & Lou's garden
      • Antony flew used this principle and applied it to religious language
        • problem with this is cannot be falsified as it is not a genuine statement at all.
        • flew used the scenario of two explorers
          • they come across an clearing in the jungle and debate if there is a gardener
          • after s series of tests one claims there is no gardener whereas the other says he's invisible and uncatchible
        • Flew believed that religious believers shift the claims and water them down to a point where they become barely statements
        • he called this death of a thousand qualifications, believers will always claim that God has a plan
        • his principle is used to call religious language meaningless however this is not Flews point
      • criticisms
        • Hare - Bliks
          • not verifiable or falsifiabel
        • Basil Mitchell
          • they are not blind to problems of faith. religious believers don't have a grounding of reason
    • Via negativa
      • statements about God cannot be accurately made. Beyond our knowledge
      • negative statements can be made as we can say what God is not.
      • came from Christianity and Judaism however originates from Plato
        • Form of Good, good is indescribable and beyond our world
        • Pseudo used this to describe God as beyond assertion
      • strenghs
        • prevents anthropomorphic statements
        • more respectable
        • supports view of many thinkers
      • weaknesses
        • limited understanding of God
        • not a true reflection of how religious people refer to God
        • is it possible to make only negatives without making positive statements as well?
    • Analogy
      • what is analogy
        • compares the normal use of a word to a religious use.
        • describing something that is unfamiliar to us by comparing it to something we already know
      • types of analogy
        • Aquinas argued that language cannot be used literally of God
        • analogy of attibution
          • the qualities that we ascribe to each other are a reflection of the qualities of God
          • The bread and the baker analogy
        • Analogy of proportion
          • the type of properties that something has depends on the being that possesses the propeties
          • the meaning changes depending on the nature of the being that is described
      • strengths and weaknesses
        • religious language can provide some understanding of God
        • too vague
        • Hick agrees they help make us able to make statements but not all statements can be proven using analogy
    • Symbols
      • religious statements are symbolic but nethertheless cognitive statements
      • Tillich believes we can make symbolic statements about God but not literal statements
      • Symbolic statements cannot be accurate
      • Tillich's view can be seen as vague
      • some people argue symbols are unclear when it comes to their true meanings behind them.
    • Myths
      • some thinkers think myths allow us to convey religious ideas - cognitive knowledge of God
      • people struggle to accept them as literally true
      • different cultures interpret them in different ways
    • Wittgenstien
      • language games
        • the meaning of words changes depending on the situation they are used in
        • you don't understand the meaning of the words/statements unless you understand the context they are used in

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